Lured by Chinese money, Solomons switch relations from Taiwan to China

DHARAMSALA, 17 Sept: Taiwan would not compete with Beijing in dollar diplomacy nor yield to its attempts to demoralize Taiwanese, the Taiwanese President has said after severing official ties with the Solomon Islands.

Taiwan’s decision was announced on late Monday when officials in Taipei pre-preemptively severed ties with Honiara as the Solomon Islands are set to switch diplomatic allegiance to China from Taiwan, lured by Beijing’s money.

The self-ruled island now has formal relations with only 16 countries, many of them small, less-developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru, reports the Aljazeera.

The report noted that President Tsai Ing-wen was determined not to bow to Chinese pressure.

“Over the past few years, China has continually used financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan’s international space,” Tsai has said and called the Chinese move “a brazen challenge and detriment to the international order”.

“I want to emphasise that Taiwan will not engage in dollar diplomacy with China in order to satisfy unreasonable demands,” she was quoted as saying in the report.

According to the report, the Solomon Islands’ decision followed a months-long review of the pros and cons of a switch to Beijing, which was offering $8.5 million in development funds to replace support from Taiwan.

“This switch has been pushed by a few members of parliament, backed by foreign influences,” AFP reported citing a man who did not want to be named.

“It doesn’t reflect what we the people of this country would have chosen,” the unnamed source has added.

The Solomon Islands became the sixth to switch allegiance to Beijing since Tsai Ing-wen became president of Taiwan in 2016.

The Solomons’ government has reportedly cancelled a planned media conference earlier today citing a busy schedule and are yet to issue any official statement on its decision.

Meanwhile, local media reported that the lawmakers voted 27-0 in favour of establishing diplomatic relations with China instead of Taiwan, with six abstentions.

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