Nauru establishes diplomatic relations with China following its decision to end ties with Taiwan

China and Nauru have formally agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations following the recent decision by the small Pacific island to sever ties with Taiwan. The signing ceremony to solidify the renewal of relations occurred in Beijing on Wednesday. Nauru’s move to terminate its ties with Taiwan on January 14, in response to Taiwanese elections that displeased China, further isolated Taipei diplomatically. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nauruan counterpart, Lionel Aingimea, celebrated the formalization of the reconciliation by raising glasses during the signing ceremony.

Wang remarked, “Although China and Nauru are geographically far apart and separated by vast oceans, the friendship between the two peoples has a long history.” Aingimea expressed Nauru’s anticipation of a “new chapter of the relationship” with China, emphasizing its foundation on strength and development strategy.

Nauru’s decision to break ties with Taipei came swiftly after the victory of the independence-leaning candidate William Lai Ching-te in the Taiwanese presidential election, a move that Beijing strongly disapproved of. The island nation announced its refusal to recognize Taiwan as a separate country, aligning itself with China’s claim that Taiwan is part of its territory.

Situated in the South Pacific, Nauru has previously switched allegiances. In 2002, it recognized China after 22 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, only to switch back to Taipei in 2005. This recent switch dealt a blow to Taipei, leaving it with just 12 allies officially recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state, although it maintains strong unofficial relations with the United States, Japan, and other nations.

China’s gradual poaching of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies is seen as a strategy to penalize the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates maintaining Taiwan’s status quo as a region with its own government, military, and de facto independent status. The People’s Republic of China has never governed the island.

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