Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi reaches out to shake hands with Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele during a ceremony to mark the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reaches out to shake hands with Solomon Islands FM Jeremiah Manele during a ceremony to mark the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two nations, in Beijing, Sept. 21, 2019.

The Solomon Islands announced Saturday the establishment of diplomatic relations with China, becoming the second Pacific island nation in as many days to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan.

The moves are part of a long-term effort by Beijing to undermine Taiwan's recognition as an independent nation and come as a blow to its president, Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January. Both Beijing and Taipei claim to be the rightful government of China.

The Solomon Islands' move had been expected after it severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Monday. The island nation of Kiribati announced on Friday that it was switching its recognition to China "in accordance with the best national interest for our country and people."

The Solomons' foreign minister also cited the national interest in announcing his country's decision, saying the Solomons has "huge" development needs and that "we need a broader partnership with countries that also includes China."

Both Beijing and Taipei have used development assistance to woo the support of small nations. The latest moves leave Taiwan with little more than a dozen countries plus the Vatican that recognize its independence.

 

 

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