Taiwan is to blame for Kiribati’s decision

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/20 18:42:31 Last Updated: 2019/9/20 21:25:52

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati on Friday abruptly severed “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan. It came less than a week after the Solomon Islands cut “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan. Taiwan’s “diplomacy” is collapsing, and may lose all of its “allies.” 

Kiribati established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1980, but the Taiwan authority bought over its “diplomatic ties” in 2003. At that time, Taiwan’s GDP was about one-fifth of the mainland’s, and Taiwan could adopt “money diplomacy.” But after more than 10 years, Taiwan’s GDP is less than one-twentieth of the mainland’s. Such “money diplomacy” has collapsed in Taiwan.

The Taiwan authority declared that the mainland used money to buy over Pacific nations. But these nations required no financial assistance when they switched to the mainland. Because of short-term economic interests, these nations used to maintain “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan. They are now propelled by strategic interests to establish ties with the mainland. After all, a country will seem strange if it has no diplomatic relations with the mainland.

In the globalization era, Taiwan’s financial assistance has become less attractive to the smaller nations as the Chinese mainland-proposed Belt and Road Initiative expands coverage. Smaller nations need sustainable development conditions rather than temporary alms from a region which is politically suspicious in itself.

The more “allies” Taiwan loses, the smaller space there will be for Taiwan in the international community to pretend as a “country.” This is a warning to Taiwan that “Taiwan independence” leads nowhere. 

The Taiwan authority hopes that the US can stop these “allies” from cutting off ties with it. Washington did threaten these nations and demanded that they maintain the status quo with Taiwan. The US threats could exert some pressure, but failed to work for the Solomon Islands and Kiribati. 

All countries would evaluate multiple factors in their consideration of diplomacy, and their national interest is the starting point of such an evaluation. Is it more important to develop normal relations with a permanent member of the UN Security Council which has a population of 1.4 billion, or is it wiser to maintain “diplomatic relations” with a region of 20 million people not recognized as a country by the international community? Isn’t the answer obvious?

The Taiwan authority accused the Solomon Islands and Kiribati of falling into the mainland’s “money trap.” Taiwan authorities are humiliating themselves as this shows money-relations are the only thing they know.

The Taiwan authority also declared that every time Taiwan loses an “ally,” it is the result of the mainland trying to interfere in Taiwan’s regional leadership elections. In fact, all that the Tsai Ing-wen authority considers is the 2020 Taiwan elections. A re-election is Tsai’s priority. Tsai would welcome a situation of Taiwan losing all its “allies” as long as it benefits the Democratic Progressive Party’s re-election.

The mainland will maintain long-term development and further strengthen its power. The result of the Taiwan elections is uncontrollable, but the mainland is firmly in control of the consequences and influence of Taiwan elections.