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Marshall Islands shows support for Taiwan after neighbours favour China

Marshall Islands shows support for Taiwan after neighbours favour China
FILE PHOTO: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a visit to Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 13, 2019. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares -
Andres Martinez Casares(Reuters)
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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Marshall Islands confirmed its diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Wednesday, a welcome show of support for President Tsai Ing-wen who has seen two other Pacific nations drop ties in favour of China in a matter of weeks.

The Solomon Islands and Kiribati decided to recognise China earlier this month, dropping self-ruled and democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own province with no rights to state-to-state relations.

In a statement, the Marshall Islands said it had adopted a resolution to show its “profound appreciation to the people and government of Taiwan.”

“We’ve all seen China’s attempts to expand its territory and footprint, and this should be of great concern to democratic countries,” President Hilda Heine said.

Self-ruled Taiwan now has formal relations with only 15 countries, many of them small, less developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru.

Seven countries have dropped Taiwan as a diplomatic ally since 2016, when Tsai took office. So the show of support from the Marshall Islands will provide some relief for her ahead of presidential elections in January.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; editing by Neil Fullick)

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