Tuvalu’s New Prime Minister Reaffirms Strong Ties with Taiwan

Prime Minister Feleti Teo of Tuvalu made a statement on Friday that the country shares strong democratic ties with Taiwan, also dismissing a closer shift to China on March 1st.

“Our ties with Taiwan are purely based on democratic principles and they have been very loyal to us,” Teo said of the relationship between the two nations.

Tuvalu lies between Australia and Hawaii and is home to 11,500 people. Teo and his eight cabinet members were sworn in this past Wednesday. The administration announced it will keep relations with Taiwan and has no intentions of severing ties in favor of China.

The former finance minister in the previous government, Seve Paeniu, made statements that Tuvalu’s relationship with Taiwan and Beijing should be reviewed, resulting in his exclusion from Teo’s cabinet. Tuvalu remains one of three nations in the Oceania region to have ties with Taiwan after the atoll of Nauru began ties with China.

After Teo’s election to Prime Minister, China’s Foreign Ministry pushed Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to “stand on the right side of history and make the right decision that truly serves their long-term interest” implying beginning relations with China.