TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan is doing its best to consolidate relations with its diplomatic allies even as some show signs of wavering and could switch recognition in the face of Chinese enticements, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on March 4.

Briefing lawmakers on the nation’s diplomatic situation during a Legislative session, Wu said China has faced domestic and international pressure over the past few years and Beijing could seek to lure away more of Taiwan’s 17 diplomatic allies to divert attention from such difficulties.

The minister admitted that some allies have shown signs that they could change allegiance but would not give names. “We are doing our best to solidify ties with them,” he noted. The minister reiterated that Taiwan will not engage in checkbook diplomacy with China.

Efforts to cement relations with allies include working closer with other like-minded countries, including the United States and participating in their foreign aid projects in those allies, especially in Latin American and the South Pacific, according to Wu.

Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, the most recent one being El Salvador in Aug. 2018.

Meanwhile, Beijing has continued to take a hardline stance on cross-strait relations since Tsai of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office, because of the DPP’s refusal to recognize the “1992 consensus.” The “1992 consensus” refers to a verbal agreement reached in 1992 between the then-Kuomintang (KMT) government of Taiwan and Chinese officials.

This agreement has been consistently interpreted by the KMT to mean that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what “China” means.

However, Beijing has never publicly voiced support for the second part of this KMT interpretation.

By Joseph Yeh