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The R.O.C. (Taiwan) government terminates diplomatic relations with Republic of Kiribati with immediate effect to uphold national dignity
Date: 2019/09/20    Data Source: Public Diplomacy Coordination Council
September 20, 2019
No. 002

The government of the Republic of Kiribati officially notified our government on September 20 that it is terminating diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan). The R.O.C. government deeply regrets and strongly condemns the Kiribati government’s decision, which disregards the multifaceted assistance and sincere friendship extended by Taiwan to Kiribati over the years. The R.O.C. government hereby declares that it is terminating diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kiribati effective immediately, ending all bilateral cooperative projects, and recalling the staff of its Embassy, technical mission, and medical mission stationed in Kiribati. The government also demands that Kiribati immediately recall its government personnel from Taiwan.

Kiribati President Taneti Mamau and certain members of the ruling party have long entertained highly unrealistic expectations regarding China and have engaged in frequent exchanges with China since President Mamau took office in 2016. Recently, the Chinese government has taken advantage of fisheries and other commercial investments to establish a presence in Kiribati, penetrating political circles and extending its influence. President Mamau has also requested massive financial assistance from Taiwan to purchase commercial airplanes. While Taiwan is willing to assist Kiribati in developing civil infrastructure for the benefit of its people, aid for the acquisition of airplanes for commercial purposes is not consistent with the spirit of Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Act. The R.O.C. government, therefore, after assessing Taiwan’s financial capabilities, suggested assistance in the form of a preferential commercial loan, but this was rejected by Kiribati, which insisted that all the necessary funds be provided in the form of donation. According to information obtained by Taiwan, the Chinese government has already promised to provide full funds for the procurement of several airplanes and commercial ferries, thus luring Kiribati into switching diplomatic relations.

The main goal driving the Chinese government’s continued campaign to push Taiwan’s allies to sever diplomatic relations is to suppress and reduce Taiwan’s international presence, thereby forcing the Taiwanese people to accept the “one country, two systems” framework and recognize China as its suzerain in the international community, and thus to ultimately destroy Taiwan’s sovereignty. But the great majority of the Taiwanese people have already expressed their absolute rejection of the “one country, two systems” framework. The R.O.C. government will stand firm in upholding Taiwan’s sovereignty, making no concessions with regard to its sovereignty in the face of China’s diplomatic assaults. The government once again emphasizes that China’s suppression of Taiwan in the international arena cannot change the indisputable fact of Taiwan’s existence, nor can it coerce the Taiwanese people into abandoning their democratic and free way of life. The government will resolutely maintain relations with other allies, strengthen ties with friendly democratic countries, and continue to cultivate further goodwill and support through meaningful contributions to the world community.

The government reiterates that the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a democratic, independent and sovereign nation. Through the free election of their head of state and parliamentarians, the people of Taiwan demonstrate their sovereignty. Taiwan is not a province of the PRC, and the PRC has never ruled over Taiwan for even a single day. This objective fact cannot be changed by China’s intimidation of Taiwan. On the contrary, China’s international pressure will only consolidate the Taiwanese people’s determination never to capitulate to the Chinese government.

It is blatantly obvious that the Chinese government, by creating these diplomatic incidents, seeks to manipulate public opinion in Taiwan, influence Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and legislative elections, and undermine its democratic processes. Taiwan urges all democratic nations to jointly condemn the Chinese government’s actions in the strongest possible terms and bear in mind that the goal of the Chinese authoritarian government is to destroy democratic systems and gradually expand its brand of authoritarianism. Taiwan is at the frontlines for democracy; Taiwan will staunchly hold this defensive line and reinforce its democratic institutions. Taiwan will neither let China manipulate the outcomes of Taiwan’s elections nor allow the PRC to decide the future of the Taiwanese people. (E)