Opposition backs cutting Nauru ties

The China Post staff

Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday endorsed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s (MOFA) move to cut ties with Nauru, saying that Taiwan should not give in to a small country’s request for enormous financial aid in exchange for diplomatic ties. “The population of Nauru is even fewer than a borough in Panchiao City, Taipei County, but it asked for a large sum of aid from mainland China to establish diplomatic relations,” Yu noted.

He went on to blame Nauru President Rene Harris’s personal decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing during a visit to Hong Kong under the pretext of a personal vacation. It is unprecedented that the communique was signed by an assistant foreign minister, and in Hong Kong instead of Beijing, which indicates Beijing’s suppression of Taiwan by rushing the process of establishing ties with Nauru on the same day that President Chen Shui-bian was sworn in as chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, Yu noted. Joseph Wu, deputy secretary-general of the Presidential Office, called the ending of diplomatic relations with bankrupt Nauru “good news” during the government’s efforts to disavow “dollar diplomacy.”

“In retrospect, we should clearly see the abnormal diplomatic initiatives and replace with healthy measures in maintaining diplomatic ties,” Wu remarked.

Taiwan did not lose the diplomatic contest, because there is no need to keep diplomatic relations by paying such a heavy price, he noted. Opposition leaders also denounced Beijing’s “cash diplomacy,” supporting the government’s decision to cut ties with Nauru. “The people of Taiwan are willing to share our experience of developing economy, industry, agriculture and technology with our allies, but we refuse to take part in a money game,” People First Party Chairman James Soong told reporters. He also urged the government to rethink its diplomatic tactics amidst the current diplomatic woes. Huang Chu-wen, chairman of the pro-DPP Taiwan Solidarity Union, said the current diplomatic setback was a result of “cash diplomacy” from the Kuomintang (KMT) regime.

“The KMT should take full responsibility for the diplomatic failure and apologize to the people,” Huang said in a press statement. Sisy Chen, an outspoken independent legislator, pointed out that over half of the government’s foreign affairs budget is given as financial aid, amounting to a tremendous number of bad loans each year.

She urged the government to reduce the subsidies for “money diplomacy” and instead to promote diplomatic initiatives related to travel, humanitarian support, and immigration.