The island nation of Kiribati on Friday became the second Pacific country to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan within a week, announcing that it would instead recognize the government in Beijing as the head of China.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu reportedly said at a news conference that Taipei "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."
“China’s international pressure will only consolidate the Taiwanese people’s determination never to capitulate to the Chinese government,” he added, as reported by The Associated Press.
A spokesman for China's foreign ministry called the decision a sign of an "irresistible trend" of nations recognizing Taiwan as part of China under Beijing's rule.
“This fully testifies to the fact that the one-China principle meets the shared aspiration of the people and constitutes an irresistible trend of the times,” Geng Shuang said, according to the AP.
“Those used to dollar-diplomacy may not understand that certain principles cannot be bought with money, neither can trust," he added.
The decision reportedly comes after Taiwan denied Kiribati's request for "massive financial assistance" for the purpose of purchasing commercial aircraft.
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has not been a member of the United Nations since 1971 and relies on just over a dozen allies in the governing body for a voice on international affairs. Mainland China, formally the People's Republic of China, considers Taiwan part of its territory and refuses to establish diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Taipei.
China has pledged billions of dollars in aid in order to secure alliances with nations like Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, which severed ties with Taiwan four days ago.