6 Jul 2004

Kiribati suspicious over ongoing presence of Chinese diplomats

10:48 am on 6 July 2004

The president of Kiribati is fearful of the continued presence of Chinese officials in the country.

Anote Tong says he fears they may be trying to foment a change of government.

Mr Tong switched diplomatic allegiance from Beijing to Taiwan after coming to power in November last year.

China was then forced to close a satellite-monitoring base on Tarawa.

But, the government is nervous about the presence of three Chinese diplomats - who remain as caretakers of embassy facilities.

Mr Tong says China may have been behind a demonstration staged to protest against Kiribati's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Beijing.