November 8, 2018

Taiwan's six Pacific allies won't join China-hosted forum: MOFA

Chinese flags up on light poles  in Port Moresby, PNG 
None of the six diplomatic allies of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the South Pacific will take part in a China-hosted summit in the region to be held on 16 November in Papua New Guinea , a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Wednesday.

Taiwan's six allies in the South Pacific -- Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu -- were invited to the China-Pacific Islands summit ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in PNG, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu confirmed at a legislative hearing.

But none of them have agreed to attend, said Chang Chun-yu , deputy head of the MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at the same hearing.

“We therefore believe the Beijing-organised summit will not affect Taiwan's relations with its diplomatic allies in the region,” Chang said.

Wu stressed that the ministry is closely monitoring every attempt made by Beijing to lure Taipei's diplomatic allies to avoid losing another one.

Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies to China since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016, the most recent one being El Salvador in August, cutting the country's number of allies to 17.

According to the MOFA, Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu will participate in the China-led summit.

More details of the summit have yet to made public, according to the ministry.


SOURCE: CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/PACNEWS
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