Nauru Breaks with Taiwan:
Nauru, formerly known as Pleasant Island and a micro-state in Micronesia in the Central Pacific, has officially abandoned its full diplomatic ties with Taiwan at 0000 EST today. This announcement comes only days after the victory of Lai Ching-te in Taiwan’s presidential polls, a victory that China has criticized as a dangerous act of separatism. The announcement from the government of Nauru reads below:
“The Government of the Republic of Nauru today announces that, in the best interests of the Republic and people of Nauru, we will be moving to the One-China Principle that is in line with UN Resolution 2758 which recognizes the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole legal Government representing the whole of China and seeking resumption of full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
This means that the Republic of Nauru will no longer recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a separate country but rather as an inalienable part of China’s territory, and will sever ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan.
This change is in no way intended to affect our existing warm relationships with other countries. Our government remains focused on moving Nauru forward and this policy change is a significant first step in moving forward with Nauru’s development. His Excellency President David Adeang will further deliver a statement in this regard at the next parliament sitting as well as a national address on local television and radio. Nauru remains a sovereign and independent nation and wants to maintain friendly relations with other countries.“
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry reacted immediately, announcing the termination of diplomatic ties with Nauru. The Taiwanese Deputy Foreign Minister told the press that Nauru requested financial aid, which was “too great” for Taiwan to provide, and that the decision was a post-election ambush. According to Bloomberg, the People’s Republic of China is now paying Nauru 150 million USD a year, effectively buying out Taiwan in what has been described as “dollar diplomacy”.
With deep regret we announce the termination of diplomatic relations with Nauru. This timing is not only China’s retaliation against our democratic elections but also a direct challenge to the international order. Taiwan stands unbowed & will continue as a force for good.
— ??? Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) ?? (@MOFA_Taiwan) January 15, 2024
The Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately took to the airwaves and published several statements praising the decision, about an hour after Nauru and Taiwan’s announcements. The first official report came from a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to state-owned media:
”As a sovereign and independent country, Nauru has announced its recognition of the one-China principle, severed so-called “diplomatic relations” with the Taiwan authorities, and is willing to restore diplomatic relations with China. China appreciates and welcomes the Nauru government’s decision.
There is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government representing all of China. This has been confirmed by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 and is a general consensus of the international community. On the basis of the one-China principle, China has established diplomatic relations with 182 countries around the world. The Nauru government’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with China fully demonstrates once again that the one-China principle is the aspiration of the people and the general trend.
China is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Nauru on the basis of the one-China principle.”
The Chinese State Council Taiwan Affairs Office also made a public statement saying simply, “adhering to one-China Policy is the aspiration of people and a trend of the times.”
Chipping Away At Allies:
It is important to note the historical relationship between Nauru and Taiwan. In 1980, Nauru established official relations with the ROC. However, in 2002, Nauru President Harris established relations with the PRC and adopted the One China Policy, reportedly for a large sum of money (at least 90 million yuan). However, by 2004, Nauru had restored diplomatic relations with Taiwan and severed relations with the People’s Republic of China. In 2011, leaked diplomatic cables revealed that Taiwan was paying monthly stipends to Nauru government officials and deployed a special medical assistance team to the country in exchange for continued diplomatic support. As mentioned above, it seems now that the People’s Republic of China offered the Nauru government a payment they could not refuse, dwarfing whatever the Taiwanese government is currently paying them.
This now only leaves 12 nations with full diplomatic ties with Taiwan: Belize, Eswatini, Guatemala, Haiti, Vatican City, Marshall Islands, Palau, Paraguay, St.Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu.