Solomon Islands to shift alliance to China, sever ties with Taiwan

Solomon Islands to shift alliance to China, sever ties with Taiwan
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The Solomon Islands announced Wednesday that it will sever its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and align itself with mainland China, Reuters reported.

“We cannot sit for the next 40 years with our friends Taiwan. It is time that we make new friends - it’s time that we should move on with our life,” senior minister Peter Shanel Agovaka told a parliamentary committee.

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“Our new relationship will deal with a One China policy; a One China policy that recognizes only Beijing as the official government administration,” he said in a recording obtained by Reuters.

The switch, which still needs to be formalized, would leave only 16 countries recognizing Taiwan.

A shift in alliances from the South Pacific archipelago would signal a win for China, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state with a democratic government.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang would only say that China was willing to have relations with all countries on the basis of the “one China” principle when asked about the switch, according to Reuters.

Taiwan said it is watching developments in the Solomons.

“Relationship with Solomon Islands currently is stable, but we are closely monitoring the situation and development,” said Joanne Ou, spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, according to Reuters.

The U.S. does not recognize Taiwan as a separate government because of its acknowledgment of Beijing's "One China" policy, but has supported the island through arms sales and is bound by law to help Taiwan defend itself.