16 May 2005

Nauru foreign minister explains switch to Taiwan

1:47 pm on 16 May 2005

Nauru's foreign minister, Frederick Pitcher, says his government has righted a wrong by re-establishing diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The restoration of ties was cemented at the weekend with the signing of a joint communiqué in Taipei.

Taiwan terminated ties with Nauru in 2002 after the then president Rene Harris established links with China.

However, Mr Pitcher says that was a unilateral action by Mr Harris and was not welcomed.

He says the government was always planning to re-establish ties with Taiwan.

"There was no particular reason, other than the fact that Taiwan are a long term ally and a friend of ours and this government believed that it was a mistake for the previous government to shift allegiances back in 2002, so in our minds we were just correcting a mistake of the past."

Mr Pitcher says Taiwan and Nauru had been linked for 22 years before Mr Harris' action.