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Diplomacy

Solomon Islands to decide: Taiwan or China?

Taiwan has come under pressure as Beijing pressures allies to drop diplomatic relations.


Written by

Updated: June 11, 2019

The recurring conflict between Taiwan and China has taken a toll for the worse, once again. The Solomon Islands, one of the remaining 17 nations that recognize and maintain diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (ROC), will decide whether they switch ties from Taiwan to China within the forthcoming 100 days.

Regarding visits made from other Pacific nations’ leaders such as New Zealand and Australia, several media outlets have suggested the influence that these prime ministers may have on Jeremiah Manele (The Solomon Island’s foreign minister).

Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, had discussed this issue with Jeremiah Manele, but there is little speculation as to whether there was pressure placed on The Solomon Islands.

The Pacific nation’s recognition of ROC may have aroused mainland China’s interest. It has resulted in excessive pressure from China in hopes to sway the Pacific nations’ alliances.

China’s drastic increase in aid and grants to allies in the Pacific region has become a powerful incentive for these low-income countries to give up their diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

This could be considered as extortion; however, the incentives offered to these countries by mainland China could outweigh their benefits from a relationship with Taiwan.

Anyhow, it seems that The Solomon Islands’ are caught in the crossfire between Australia and China’s row over influence in the Pacific region.

In contrast to the level of pressure that China places on the Pacific nations to gain their alliances, Australia has a passive approach and Morrison has repeatedly stated that The Solomon Islands’ must decide on their own.

It’s vital for Taiwan to cultivate relations between existing United Nations in order to increase its recognition as a separate identity from mainland China.

Taiwan needs heightened support from as many United Nations as possible to improve its economy and status as an independently identified country.

If other Pacific nations follow suit with the decision that The Solomon Islands reaches, it could either lead to a stronger alliance built or a devastating situation for Taiwan.

An aspect that has become clearer through this, however, is that the majority of nations don’t wish to recognize Taiwan in the fear of losing trading relations with industrial giant, China.

Despite the meager economic improvement that Pacific nations provide for Taiwan, they establish a valued sense of support in global communities such as the United Nations. China’s vigorous attempts to isolate Taiwan are increasing in severity.

Therefore, it is imperative that Taiwan does continue to nurture existing alliances and further appeal to other nations.



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