Sun, Sep 29, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Joseph Wu meets leaders from two Pacific allies

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, right, meets with Nauruan President Lionel Aingimea in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday met with Palauan President Tommy Remengesau and Nauruan President Lionel Aingimea during their stopover in Taiwan on their way back from the UN General Assembly in New York.

The two Pacific nations are among Taiwan’s 15 remaining allies, after the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched recognition to Beijing on Sept. 16 and 20, respectively.

Greeting the two leaders at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning, Wu thanked them for speaking up for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN at the assembly.

Remengesau flew to Palau at noon, while Aingimea — who was elected last month — stayed in Taipei for a luncheon meeting with Wu and a dinner meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), before returning to Nauru, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver on Thursday warned during a US House of Representatives hearing that Palau and the Marshall Islands are under great pressure to switch recognition to Beijing, but the ministry said relations with the two nations are stable.

Taiwan and Nauru established relations in 1980, but cut ties in 2002 after Nauru switched recognition to Beijing.

The two re-established ties in 2005.

Following Taiwan’s loss of two diplomatic allies in a single week, the Nauruan government on Thursday issued a statement hailing bilateral relations.

At yesterday’s lunch with Aingimea, Wu said that Taiwan-Nauru relations stand firm, with fruitful collaborations and frequent visits by high-ranking officials from both sides, the ministry said.

Wu invited Aingimea to conduct a state visit in Taiwan, the date of which is being arranged, it said.

He also thanked Nauru for defending the Taiwanese delegation’s dignity in the face of Chinese pressure when Nauru hosted the annual Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) last year, it said.

Tsai in March visited Nauru during her eight-day Oceans of Democracy state visit, after former Nauruan president Baron Divavesi Waqa in January led a delegation to Taiwan for a five-day visit.

Wu also met with Waqa during this year’s PIF in Tuvalu in the middle of last month, followed by a parliamentary delegation visiting Taipei for the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Union assembly later that month.

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