Taipei loses another ally: Kiribati chooses China

The Pacific island makes an unofficial announcement. The countries that recognize Taiwan drop to 15, including the Vatican. Beijing has long implemented a "checkbook diplomacy" to push Taiwan's allies - often very poor countries - to abandon the diplomatic recognition of the "rebel island".

Taipei (AsiaNews) - The Foreign Minister of the Republic of China (Taiwan) announced this morning that the Taiwanese embassy in Kiribati will be closed, given that the Pacific island has decided to recognize Beijing, even if so far it has only given the announcement unofficially.

With Kiribati gone, Taiwan has only 15 countries left that recognize it. Four days ago, the Solomon Islands also preferred to trade Taiwan for the People's Republic of China.

Since 1949, when Chiang Kai Shek took refuge there, the island of Taiwan is the seat of the government of the Republic of China. Gradually, many countries broke diplomatic ties with Taipei to bond with China.

 Beijing demands that all countries in relation to it recognize that there is "one China" and that Taiwan is "a rebel island".

In the last decade there were still about twenty states that recognized Taiwan.

In Europe there is only the Vatican. Several of these states in Central America and the Pacific are poor and linked to the economic aid that Taipei offers them; Beijing has a played well by using with what is called "checkbook diplomacy" and this explains the ease of the defections.

As Tsai Ing-wen has become president of Taiwan, Beijing has engaged in a powerful diplomatic struggle to make the island lose all its allies, punishing the independence aims supported by some members of the Tsai party, the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) .