China criticizes USA over canceled meeting

Taiwan China Solomon Islands

Fewer than 20 governments still recognize Taiwan.

China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation. Of those, the Marshall Islands and Palau have close ties with the U.S. and are unlikely to switch allegiance anytime soon.

Solomon Islanders in Malaita Province yesterday staged a peaceful protest against cutting ties with Taiwan, with demonstrators holding banners that read "Malaita for Democracy, Forget the $ Think, Leadership", images posted on the "I am from Honiara, Solomon Islands" Facebook page showed.

On Monday, after months of discussions and weeks of investigation, the Solomon Islands voted to recognise China after 36 years of being aligned with Taiwan.

In its statement Taiwan accuses China of resorting to "dollar diplomacy" and "false promises" to secure a Solomons' switch before Beijing's national day on 1 October. "The US and Int'l community must push back against Beijing's bullying and efforts to isolate #Taiwan".

According to data from the Lowy Institute, Taiwan spent about $US105 million in Solomon Islands between 2011 and 2017, compared to $US1.15 billion provided by Australia.

Reuters news agency on Tuesday cited a senior USA government official as saying that Pence canceled a planned meeting with Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY.

Asked about the USA stance on the matter, a senior US administration official told CNA Tuesday that Washington is disappointed with Beijing's repeated efforts to take away more of Taipei's diplomatic allies. Others argue that the Solomon Islands is at risk of dragging itself into a debt trap, seeing as the country already has a high level of debt and it may not be able to absorb additional borrowing from China.

The meeting was to have taken place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in NY. Still others have pointed to how the Solomon Island's political leaders have made a decision to steer the country in the direction of closer relations with China without adequately consulting the people.

President Tsai Ing-wen stated in public comments that the morale of the Taiwanese people would not be damaged by the loss of yet another diplomatic ally.

That being said, one notes the unusual development of bipartisan American condemnation of the Solomon Islands by American senators as Republicans Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner.

"The decision by the Solomon Islands to change its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the People's Republic of China has consequences", the official said.

The so-called "1992 consensus" - a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 - refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Beijing that both sides acknowledge there is "one China", with each side having its own interpretation of what "China" means. But this sort of political hypocrisy from America should be of little surprise.



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