Nauru will sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and recognise China, the government of the small Pacific Islands nation said on Monday, marking Taipei’s first diplomatic ally to switch to Beijing following a presidential election.
The Nauru government said that “in the best interests” of the country and its people it was seeking full resumption of diplomatic relations with China.
“This means that the Republic of Nauru will no longer recognise the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a separate country but rather as an inalienable part of China’s territory, and will sever ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it would be holding a news conference shortly.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, a position Taiwan strongly disputes.
Taiwan security officials had told Reuters before Saturday’s election that China was likely to continue to whittle away at the handful of countries having formal diplomatic ties with Taipei.
Lai Ching-te from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential election on Saturday as expected and will take office on May 20. Before the election China called Lai a dangerous separatist.
Nauru’s move leaves Taiwan with only 12 diplomatic allies, including Guatemala, Paraguay, Eswatini, Palau and the Marshal Islands.