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Taiwan helps Pacific allies keep China’s Huawei out

Taiwan to maintain ties to Pacific Islands Forum even after departure of 3 allies

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu at the Legislative Yuan. 

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu at the Legislative Yuan.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is planning to help its Pacific allies build up their telecom infrastructure in order to prevent China’s Huawei Technologies gaining a foothold in the region, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Thursday (Nov. 25).

Taiwan counts 15 official diplomatic allies, mostly small nations in the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. China has been using its growing economic power to lure allies away from Taiwan, with the aim of undercutting support for Taipei at international organizations and increasing its isolation.

Speaking to legislators during a budget review Thursday, Wu mentioned the example of Tuvalu, where Taiwan’s new envoy was a telecom expert. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) was speaking to Taiwanese information technology and telecommunication companies to extend their business to the Pacific allies and help establish the necessary infrastructure, Wu said.

Lawmakers also questioned the minister about Taiwan’s role in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) after three diplomatic allies left the organization, Radio Taiwan International reported. Palau, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands abandoned the group this year amid a dispute over the appointment of a new secretary-general.

Taiwan would continue to participate in the PIF as it still existed, but if allies decided to form a new body, Taipei would also go and apply for membership, Wu said in reply to questions about whether MOFA should still be funding activities related to PIF.