Solomon Islands shifts ties from Taipei to Beijing

President Tsai Ing-wen will give a press conference tonight following Taiwan’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with the Solomon Islands. (Courtesy of Tsai Ing-wen/LINE)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu announced Monday that Taiwan has cut diplomatic ties with the Solomon Islands, following reports that the South Pacific island-nation plans to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

According to the Solomon Times, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Damukana Sogavare held a cabinet and caucus meeting today in which 27 caucus members voted in favor of the decision and 6 abstained.

In a last-ditch effort, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dispatched a delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien to try and persuade South Pacific island country to remain on Taiwan’s side, but to no avail.

The Central News Agency speculated that a delegation of Solomon Island representatives finalized a US$500 million (NT$15.4 billion) aid package in August. The funds were said to be contingent on the country severing ties with Taiwan before the end of September.

The People’s Republic of China is preparing for the ruling Communist Party’s 70th anniversary on Oct. 1. More than 100,000 people plan to take part in the celebrations this year, which organizers have said will be larger than previous anniversary parades.

Taiwan is left with 16 diplomatic allies following the Solomon Islands’ decision that comes after months of speculation that the South Pacific nation was jockeying to jump ship for Beijing.