OPINIONS Nauru mars image of Pacific Island nations


Nauru mars image of Pacific Island nations

Global Times

23:08, September 06, 2018


Nauru, host nation of The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), tried to stop the Chinese delegation from entering the country and obstructed their speech at the forum. These tricks had nothing to do with the forum.

Nauru is one of Taiwan's "diplomatic allies" while the Chinese mainland is a dialogue partner of the PIF, and this situation is what triggered the dispute. After the Chinese delegates arrived in Nauru, it refused to stamp entry visas into their diplomatic passports, saying it would only process their personal passports. The two sides were locked in an impasse. Nauru eventually backed down after other Pacific Island countries protested against Nauru's act of obstruction against China.

Baron Waqa, Nauruan President, refused to allow China's top diplomat to address the climate change forum on Tuesday. The Chinese delegation walked out in protest after a short confrontation.

It is rude to disrupt delegates and prevent them from addressing an international forum. Waqa regards the Chinese envoy as trying to use Beijing's might to bully the tiny island nation, which is a wholly false accusation.

No one believes these disputes have no connection to the "diplomatic ties" between Nauru and Taiwan. Taiwan has lost its "diplomatic allies" one after another recently. Nauru's act of opposing the Chinese mainland and sending help in Taiwan's hour of distress, which is against the global trend, may bring it some benefits from Taiwan's authorities.

Australia and the US have been hyping that China is trying to expand its influence among Pacific Island countries. Nauru's acts cater to Canberra and Washington and may also win some appreciation from the West. But the island nation's acts are unreasonable, and have at least three bad effects.

First, Nauru has damaged the image of the PIF and Pacific Island countries, as the host country's president stresses his selfish political interests more than the regional forum's focus. Other Pacific Island countries surely do not want to be associated with such an image.

Second, Pacific Island countries need comprehensive cooperation with the outside world instead of becoming a hotbed of geopolitical disputes. Cooperation between China and Pacific Island countries has benefited the latter, but China has not intervened in those countries' internal affairs. At a time when Australia and the US are jittery about China, the priority for Pacific nations should be putting geopolitics on the backburner, not creating disturbances and making related countries more vigilant.

Third, Taiwan's current "diplomatic allies" are expanding their trade and economic cooperation with China in their own ways, and China also respects these countries' basic rights. It is short-sighted for the Waqa administration to be so discourteous in its opposition to Beijing, and it also hurts the interests of local people.

Taiwan should not believe there is still an opportunity for its "diplomacy" just because of Nauru's actions. It's absurd that Taiwan's future can be decided by a remote Pacific island country. Taiwan's "independent sovereignty" is like melting ice, and it is swimming against the dominant global tide. 

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