Taiwan's diplomatic relations with Nauru are severed in favour of China

Taiwan has severed diplomatic relations with one of its last allies in Beijing, mere days after a new president was elected in Taipei.

The minuscule island of Nauru in Micronesia was one of twelve nations that maintained diplomatic relations with Taipei. However, Beijing, which maintains that Taiwan is a part of China, has been recruiting its diplomatic allies in recent years.

This latest setback, according to Taiwan, is attributable to the election results from the weekend, which infuriated China.

William Lai, a pro-sovereignty candidate, was elected president by the electorate. Beijing has labelled Lai a "troublemaker" due to his previous statements endorsing Taiwanese independence, an issue that Beijing considers to be beyond the boundaries of its red line.

Taiwanese officials stated, "This timing is a direct challenge to the international order and not merely China's retaliation against our democratic elections," in response to Nauru's government's declaration that it would "no longer recognise [Taiwan] as a separate country but rather as an inalienable part of China's territory."

Monday at a media conference, Tien Chung-kwang, the deputy foreign minister of Taiwan, accused China of "buying over" Nauru with financial aid by capitalising on recent "political fluctuations" in the country.

The democratic progress of Taiwan has garnered international attention and according to Mr. Tien, democratic nations will not acknowledge Beijing if it proceeds to claim diplomatic relations with Taiwan using such abhorrent methods.

He stated that his ministry continues to be "extremely vigilant" in order to counter any additional efforts by China to isolate Taiwan internationally.

Nauru's decision was welcomed by China, which views the self-governing island of 23 million as a breakaway province that will eventually fall under Beijing's jurisdiction.

China's foreign ministry stated, "The decision of the Nauruan government to resume diplomatic relations with China unequivocally reaffirms that the one-China principle is the will of the people and the current trend."

This is not the first time that Taiwan, which has democratically elected leaders and considers itself distinct from the Chinese mainland, and Nauru have severed ties.

Nauru underwent a comparable diplomatic transition to China in 2002; in May 2005, it resumed diplomatic ties with Taiwan. According to analysts, Nauru's action was not unforeseen.

"Nauru switching recognition from Taiwan to China has been a possibility for some time," said Anna Powles, an associate professor of security studies at Massey University in New Zealand.

Ms. Powles stated that the haste with which Australia pursued a treaty offering climate refuge to Tuvaluan citizens in late 2018 was indicative of apprehensions that Tuvalu, an additional Pacific nation, was "under pressure to switch recognition to China." She stated, "These concerns extended to Nauru."

"China is constantly seeking to erode Taiwan's influence, particularly in the Pacific, where many minor nations are seeking development gains," said Mihai Sora, an Australian think tank research fellow in the Pacific Islands Programme at Lowy Institute.

"As Taiwan's global diplomatic allies diminish, the significance of each one escalates in relation to its assertion of sovereignty... Furthermore, it is highly probable that China will persist in seeking opportunities to undermine that.