23 Jul 2002

Taiwan severs ties with Nauru after Nauru recognises Beijing

5:39 pm on 23 July 2002

Taiwan has announced it will cut diplomatic ties with Nauru, two days after Nauru recognised Taipei's rival Beijing.

Taipei has accused Beijing of buying Nauru's friendship with financial aid worth up to 137 million US dollars.

It also says the majority of the Nauru cabinet disagreed with President Rene Harris' decision to recognise Beijing.

The foreign ministry in Taipei says Nauru made a lot of requests for assistance but the demands went beyond what Taiwan considers to be on a reasonable scale..

The latest move lowers the number of countries recognising Taiwan diplomatically to 27.

While Papua New Guinea briefly appeared to change allegiance, the last Pacific country to set up ties with Beijing was Tonga.

The Marshall Islands in turn recognised Taiwan which prompted China to abandon its links with the Majuro government.

Speaking about diplomacy at the weekend, Taiwan's President, Chen Shui-bian, said it would consider taking its own path if China does not respond to its goodwill

Opposition politicians say he meant declaring Taiwan independence, a move that is almost certain to invite a Chinese military invasion.