Micronesia considers giving diplomatic recognition to Taiwan

Sydney, Australia, Mar 10 (EFE).- The Federated States of Micronesia, a small republic in the Pacific with historical ties to the United States, has been considering a change in diplomatic relations to recognize Taiwan, rather than China.

In a letter signed on Thursday, outgoing President David Panuelo confirmed that he met with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu in February to request assistance from Taipei and discuss a change in diplomatic recognition.

“I was transparent with Foreign Minister Wu; we project we need an injection of approximately $50,000,000 to meet our future needs. We can and will receive this, over a three-year period, if and when we establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” he said.

In the letter, Panuelo, who will step down in May after losing his seat in the elections held Tuesday, criticized China for meddling in its affairs in an attempt to alter traditional alliances in the region.

The leader, in a lengthy 13-page letter to state governors, said China plans to “invade” Taiwan, considered by Beijing as a rebel island, and has carried out espionage activities with its ships in the waters that include Micronesia’s exclusive economic zone.

He spoke of Chinese activity in their exclusive economic zone, including mapping their maritime territory in search of potential resources, and accused Beijing of waging a “political war” in his country and bribing officials.

Panuelo also said that earlier this year he had blocked the appointment of China’s new ambassador because the person had experience in security and overseas police operations.

In recent years, tensions between Washington and Beijing have increased, especially over Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory while the United States maintains a security alliance with Taipei.

The Pacific region came into the spotlight after China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands in April 2022, which was negotiated in an opaque manner.

This agreement, seen as an attempt by Beijing to expand its influence in the small island countries of this region, raised concerns among the US and Australia about the possibility of China trying to establish naval bases in the Solomon Islands, which in 2019 broke its diplomatic alliance with Taiwan in favor of China.

Last year, then-Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi toured the Pacific to secure a regional security and cooperation agreement with ten nations.

However, the agreement did not materialize due to the suspicion of several leaders, including Panuelo.

The Federated States of Micronesia, with a population of about 110,000 people and composed of more than 600 islands spread across four states, are in talks to finalize a renewed free association agreement with Washington – which administered Micronesia from 1945 to 1990 – under which the US provides defense and economic support. EFE


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