Nauru demands China apologize for bad behavior at Pacific Islands Forum

‘He's not even a minister and he's demanding to be recognized and to speak before the prime minister of Tuvalu. Is he crazy?’

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Baron Waqa, left, with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern during PIF.

Baron Waqa, left, with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern during PIF. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Nauru President Baron Waqa called on China to formally apologize for a string of bad behavior by Chinese envoys at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) over the past few days.  

"We won't just seek an apology, we will actually get the forum to do it... as well as our own and we will even take it up to the UN," said Waqa during a press conference on September 5, reported Reuters.  

Nauru is an island country in Micronesia, home to around 11,000 people. Nauru played host to the 49th PIF from Sept. 3 to Sept. 6, where a host of regional issues including climate change as a security threat were discussed by the 18 member states, and numerous of dialogue partners including China and Taiwan.

"I have to be strong here because no one is to come and dictate things for us," Waqa said. "It's about the way they [China] treated us, they're not our friends. They just use us for their own purpose, " said Waqa, reported Reuters.

"Never mind they [China] are big, they are our partners, they should not disrespect us."

The problems began when Chinese officials created a scene when they were denied entry into Nauru using diplomatic passports, which is standard practice because the Micronesian state does not have diplomatic ties with China.

The airport altercation brought in other Pacific nations with Fiji intervening, and led to the Chinese delegation being admitted into Nauru without stamps in their passports, reported Taiwan News.

China continued with its forward-leaning approach throughout the forum, despite only being an observer at the forum.

The Chinese delegation stormed out of a meeting after being refused to speak. Waqa said the Chinese special envoy attempted to speak ahead of the Tuvalu Prime Minister, despite not having the right to speak at all.

"Would he behave like that in front of his own president? I doubt it," Waqa said, reported SBS.

"He's not even a minister and he's demanding to be recognized and to speak before the prime minister of Tuvalu. Is he crazy?"

The PIF culminated with Pacific leaders issuing the Boe Declaration on Sept. 5, which described climate change as the "the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific," and called on countries to achieve their climate abatement goals.