After Tuvalu elections Taiwan assures that their relations are forever

After Tuvalu elections, Taiwan assures that their relations are “forever.”

Taiwan said on Monday (Feb. 26) that it had received assurances from the Tuvalu Islands' new prime minister that ties between the two territories were “forever,” brushing off fears about a possible rapprochement between that Pacific nation and Beijing Disadvantages of Taipei aside. Feleti Teo was officially named prime minister of the Tuvalu Islands on Monday after elections brought the issue of relations with Taiwan to the forefront. Tuvalu, a Polynesian archipelago made up of sparsely populated atolls, is one of 12 states that officially recognize Taipei, not Beijing.

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During the election campaign, then MP and Finance Minister Seve Paeniu suggested that the new government review its relations with Taiwan. Taiwan's ambassador to Tuvalu, Andrew Lin, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday that he had spoken to Feleti Teo as well as lawmakers in the new government and received assurances “that the relationship between Taiwan and Tuvalu is strong.” solid as stone, long-lasting and eternal.

“I have had discussions with each of them and received guarantees from each of them,” Mr Lin said after the inauguration ceremony. Feleti Teo, a former Attorney General, headed the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) before his election. According to MP Simon Kofe, it will be invested this week.

International relations should be high on the new government's priority list

Beijing has actively courted Taiwan's allies in the Pacific, persuading the Solomon Islands and Kiribati to cut ties with Taipei and establish diplomatic relations with China in 2019. The small number of countries recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign country continued to decline in January, with Nauru following suit.

In this context, the elections in Tuvalu and the election of a new leader have attracted increased attention and the process has taken longer than expected. Because there are no political parties, electing a prime minister in this small state of 11,500 people, which elects sixteen representatives, takes time.

International relations are expected to be high on Mr Teo's new government's priority list, as are issues related to climate change, with the archipelago one of the world's most vulnerable to climate change. The sea. Two of the nine islands have already largely disappeared beneath the waves, and climatologists fear that the entire archipelago will be uninhabitable within eighty years.

Jess Marinaccio, a Pacific researcher at the University of California, told AFP it was too early to say whether Teo would maintain ties with Taiwan. “The positions he held were positions where he dealt with countries that did or did not have relations with Taiwan, and so he probably had to be impartial in that regard. »

“He couldn't express his opinion one way or the other, so we don't know if he leans one way or the other,” the researcher added.

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The world with AFP