Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:16 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:16 | SYDNEY

China and Taiwan fight over the Marshall Islands


Fergus Hanson


14 January 2008 16:15

The recent election tussle in the Marshall Islands which resulted in a win for the United People’s Party is about more than who will lead this tiny, impoverished nation of around 60,000. As one of only 24 countries that still recognize Taiwan, the Marshall Islands has found itself being fought over by at least one global giant.

Following a trip to Beijing in November 2007, the then speaker of Parliament Litokwa Tomeing announced his intention to advocate a return to recognizing China, abandoning his country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which come with a $US14 million annual aid package. That was the story then, but upon being elected President, Tomeing seemed to backtrack on his pro-China stance. This apparently followed a conversation with Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian during which he accepted an invitation to visit Taipei and an offer to bail out the islands’ grounded national airline. It will be curious to see who emerges victorious from this unseemly struggle in the coming weeks.