Solomon Islands: A Pacific Linchpin Is Pulled

January 10, 2020 | The Diplomat

On September 16, the Cabinet of the Solomon Islands voted to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, ending its 36-year-old official relationship with Taiwan. Kiribati switched three days later. This quick succession of diplomatic losses dropped Taipei’s formal diplomatic partners to 15.

While the switch by the Solomon Islands was a long time coming – China is its largest export market by a large margin, and investment, tourist, and cultural links with China have dwarfed those with Taiwan – it represents the reality of Beijing’s successes in campaigning against Taiwan’s status in the international system. Since Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, China has chiseled away six of Taiwan’s partners from Africa, Central America, and the South Pacific.

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