Marshall Islands confirms diplomatic support for Taiwan

Marshall Islands confirms diplomatic support for Taiwan

The Marshall Islands confirmed its support for Taiwan in late September 2019, when its parliament passed a resolution expressing its “profound appreciation to the people and government of Taiwan” and for Taiwan’s support during the past 20 years.

The resolution declares the Marshall Islands’ “profound appreciation for the staunch support of the People and Government of Republic of China (Taiwan) as a true friend and ally to the Republic of the Marshall Islands.” It also noted Taiwan’s “unwavering commitment” to promote freedom, democracy and human rights along with Taiwan’s assistance financially, technically and through training scholarships to help develop the Marshall Islands.

The affirmation comes in the wake of two other Pacific island nations dropping their ties in recent weeks with Taiwan under pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which has been waging a campaign to isolate the island diplomatically.

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

Self-rule Taiwan has formal relations with 15 countries, many of them in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru, according to Reuters. Since 2016, seven countries have dropped Taiwan as a diplomatic ally after the PRC applied political and other pressures. The most recent were Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, both situated in the Pacific region where the PRC continues ramping up efforts to establish its influence.

Through its resolution of support, the Marshall Islands also urged the United Nations to take “immediate action to resolve the inappropriate exclusion of Taiwan’s 23 million people from the U.N. system, cancel the U.N.’s discriminatory policy against Taiwanese passports holders and journalists, and ensure that Taiwan has the right to participate in an equal and dignified manner in meetings, mechanisms, and activities related to the implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.”

The diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Marshall Islands have been on display as of late, with Taiwan increasing its bilateral people-to-people engagements, according to Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

Taiwan recently provided dozens of university scholarships to Marshall Islands students who will join over two-dozen others already on scholarship at universities in Taiwan, RNZ reported. Visits to the Marshall Islands by Taiwanese officials have increased, and a trade delegation of business representatives from Taiwan visited in August 2019.

The Taiwanese Embassy also has follow-up development-related visits by agricultural and other experts scheduled in the coming weeks, according to RNZ.

(Pictured: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, left, and Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine review the guard of honor at a welcoming ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, in July 2018.)