It has been revealed that Taiwan donated 1.4 million US Dollars to help Kiribati purchase flat-bottomed ships, but the money has disappeared. Kiribati is one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the South Pacific. Learn more about them in today’s Taiwan News Encyclopedia.
Of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies around the world, six are located in the South Pacific and form a distinct regional bloc. They are Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati and Nauru. As island nations, they share several cultural bonds with Taiwan.
2006 saw the first leadership-level summit between Taiwan and the leaders of the six Pacific nations, which was held in the Marshall Islands. The second summit was held in 2007 inPalau, and the 2008 summit was held for the first time in Taiwan.
Each summit meeting to date has concluded with the signing of a joint declaration upholding the shared values of democracy and human rights. Taiwan gives technical and financial support to its Pacific allies in the form of developing infrastructure, information technology, health and education and fishing and agriculture among other areas of co-operation.
Taiwan’s Pacific allies have also been vocal in supporting Taiwan in the international community. This includes supporting Taiwan’s bids for membership in the United Nations and the World Health Organization. More recently, they have helped support President Ma Ying-jeou's policy of flexible diplomacy. That refers to seeking participation in international organizations as an observer, but not trying to earn full UN membership.
In the past, Taiwan had competed with Mainland China for official diplomatic recognition. This lead to what is called "check-book diplomacy" — essentially a bidding war to see who could win over more allies.
However, when Ma took office, he called for a diplomatic truce with Beijing. That move has kept Taiwan's diplomatic allies at a stable number for the past several years.