China Appears to Have a New Ally

( – In September 2019, the Solomon Islands — located in the South Pacific — cut ties with Taiwan to pledge its allegiance to China. The move raised tensions in the region, causing worry in both the US and Australia. Now, another island is following the same path, tipping the influential scales toward China once again.

According to Newsweek, Nauru broke ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing after a recent election in Taiwan placed Lai Ching-te as the country’s next president. Naura is a small island that sits southwest of the Solomon Islands off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The country’s decision to move away from Taiwan and toward China is just one more piece tipping the influential scales in the South Pacific away from the US and toward Beijing.

In September 2022, The White House announced America’s commitment to a partnership with the Pacific Islands. President Joe Biden and leaders from the island nations met to discuss a desire to “expand and deepen” cooperation between the participants and address pressing issues like climate change, economics, and maritime protection.
Newsweek reported that China, too, has been working with countries in the South Pacific to expand its presence by providing assistance in the form of healthcare, disaster relief, and education. Some experts worry that the help will come at a price, leaving the nations dependent on China.

The US isn’t the only country affected by Beijing’s growing foothold in the region. Nauru and the Solomon Islands sit northwest of Australia — putting China essentially at the country’s doorstep. Still, the Australian government said it “respects” Nauru’s decision to change its allegiance. In fact, an Australian news source reported that the island gave the country a warning ahead of the move.

China-Pacific relations expert from the Australian National University, Graeme Smith, said the timing was no coincidence. Dr. Smith said it was a reaction to the recent election in Taiwan that was “all lined up in advance.”

Copyright 2024,