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Nauru snubs Taiwan, resumes diplomatic relations with China

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Nauru's Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Trade Lionel Aingimea in Beijing

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Nauru's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Lionel Aingimea in Beijing

China and Nauru have resumed their diplomatic relations after the tiny Pacific island nation severed ties with its now-former ally, Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Nauru counterpart Lionel Aingimea met on Wednesday in Beijing and signed an agreement to restore bilateral relations.

"Although China and Nauru are geographically far apart and separated by vast oceans, the friendship between the two peoples has a long history," Wang said.

The resumption of ties "once again demonstrates to the world that adherence to the one-China principle is an irresistible historical trend," he added.

The government in Nauru said it looks forward to the full resumption of diplomatic relations with China "in the best interests" of its citizens.

Major blow to Taiwan's standing in the Pacific

Nauru remained Taiwan's ally and maintained diplomatic relations with it for 22 years. Nauru recognized China in 2002 and then switched back to recognizing Taiwan in 2005.

On Monday, Nauru unexpectedly announced that it would no longer recognize Taiwan "as a separate country" but "rather as an inalienable part of China's territory."

The announcement by Nauru lent a severe blow to Taiwan, which identifies itself as a sovereign state and resists China's overbearing claim to sovereignty over it.

Now, Taiwan is left with just 12 allies that fully recognize it but enjoys strong support from the US.

The US called Nauru's decision "unfortunate" and "disappointing," warning Beijing's promises often go unfulfilled.

mfi/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)