The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it is closely following developments in Tuvalu after the election of a new prime minister, Kausea Natano, sparking concern that Taiwan might face another diplomatic crisis.
Tuvalu is one of the nation’s 16 remaining allies after the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing on Monday, ending 36 years of official ties.
Natano yesterday received 10 of 16 votes from the Tuvaluan parliament to replace Enele Sopoaga.
Photo: Chou Hsiang-yun, Taipei Times
The power change in Tuvalu “could give Beijing an opportunity to further isolate Taiwan,” a Reuters report said yesterday, citing analysts in the region.
The surprise change has lengthened the shadow over Taiwan’s standing in the South Pacific, the report said.
However, Ambassador to Tuvalu Marc Su (蘇仁崇) expressed confidence in Tuvalu, saying that Beijing had little influence in the Pacific nation after an unsuccessful attempt to court it just over a decade ago.
Photocopied by Peng Wan-hsin, Taipei Times
“You can feel they are trying to attract our diplomatic allies in every possible way,” Su told Reuters.
“This country is OK — there won’t be any effect,” Su said, adding that Taiwan had good relationships in Tuvalu from “grassroots to top level.”
Taiwan is to contribute US$7.06 million to Tuvalu’s budget for this year, according to budget documents, the report said.
Diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Tuvalu are stable, and Natano has maintained “close contact” with the Republic of China embassy, the ministry said.
Since the Solomon Islands’ diplomatic switch, several US officials have also expressed their support for Taiwan.
“We have repeatedly expressed our concern over China’s actions to bully Taiwan through economic coercion, squeezing Taiwan’s international space, and poaching diplomatic partners,” US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell told a US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations hearing on Wednesday.
“These actions undermine the cross-strait status quo, which has created peace and benefited both sides of the [Taiwan] Strait for decades,” he said.
Committee Chairman James Risch, ranking member Bob Menendez and other committee members also expressed their support at the hearing.
The ministry yesterday thanked the US lawmakers, saying Taiwan would continue to be a responsible member of the international community.
In other developments, US President Donald Trump announced his appointment of US Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien as his new national security advisor.
“I have worked long & hard with Robert,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“He will do a great job!” Trump added.
O’Brien visited Taiwan in May 2016 and his position is “very friendly” toward Taiwan, the ministry said.
Taiwan and the US have maintained “close and smooth communication,” and continue to deepen their cooperation in the areas of politics, economy and security, it said.
The ministry hopes to, on the basis of the current “friendly and stable” Taiwan-US relations, to continue to work with the US to strengthen their partnership, it added.
DELUSIONAL: The male patient said he did not know that the woman had mental problems, but the court said that her being restrained in isolation should have given him pause The Taiwan High Court has ordered the Jhudong branch of the Taiwan National University Hospital and a male patient to jointly pay a former female patient’s family NT$400,000 in compensation after the man had sex with the woman, who has mental problems, while hospitalized. The 26-year-old woman has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, a symptom of which is that she obsessively seeks to have sex, her mother said. The mother filed a formal complaint and sought damages from the hospital and the male patient surnamed Chen (陳) after finding out that her daughter had sex with the man while
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) should not use the government’s disease-prevention policy as an excuse to block people’s access to the Taipei Railway Station’s main hall, the Taiwan International Workers’ Association said yesterday. The association held a protest at the station after what organizers said were about 400 people staged a sit-in on Saturday to demonstrate against the TRA’s proposal to ban sitting on the floor of the main hall. In accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s disease-prevention measures, large gatherings have been banned in the hall since the end of February. After protesters yesterday expressed their grievances at the southern
SEEKING OPTIONS: A Sinyi Realty corporate realty official attributed the spike to proposed legal changes in the territory and the ongoing pro-democracy protests More Hong Kongers purchased real estate in Taiwan last year than other foreigners, Ministry of the Interior statistics showed. The ministry attributed the spike to a proposed extradition law that the Hong Kong government submitted last year, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to China and other nations, which sparked mass protests that are continuing. The rate of purchases last year by Hong Kong natural and juridical persons stood at 40 and 60 percent respectively, with building area purchased by both standing at 47.41 percent and 52.59 percent respectively, ministry data showed. Department of Land Administration statistics showed that Hong Kongers
NEW RECRUITS: Nearly 9 million students are to graduate from university next month, and Beijing plans to use incentives to convince them to join the military, an analyst said Rising unemployment in China due to the COVID-19 pandemic could benefit the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by allowing it to attract new, better educated recruits, a Taiwanese security researcher said on Friday. Chen Ying-hsuan (陳穎萱), a policy analyst at the Division of Chinese Politics and Military Affairs at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, a government-funded think tank, made the remarks in an article published in the Defense Security Biweekly magazine. About 8.74 million university students are expected to graduate in China next month, while Chinese companies’ demand for fresh graduates fell 16.77 percent annually in the