Friday, April 23, 2021

China enticed Palau to cut ties with Taiwan with 100,000 tourists

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Ritchie B. Tongo / EPA

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (e) and President of Palau Surangel Whipps Jr. (d)

The president of Palau said that China had tried to convince him to cut ties with Taiwan by sending 100,000 tourists to the small Pacific island state. When the country refused, China withdrew them.

The president Surangel Whipps Jr., who recently revealed that he refused Chinese approaches, was speaking in Taipei during a visit to Taiwan that marks the launch of a tourism bubble between the two countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

According to Whipps, Chinese officials told him that “the sky is the limit” with regard to the benefits of cutting off relations with Taiwan and adhering to the “one China” policy, but that the episode of 100,000 Chinese tourists in the archipelago demonstrates be a “carrot and stick” policy, which he considers “counterproductive”.

“In a relationship (…) you don’t hit your wife to make her like us,” said Whipps, quoted by the agency. CNA. “If you give me carrots, don’t tell me that I can’t see other people, because we all believe in peace and prosperity for all, ”said the head of state of one of the four remaining allies remaining in Taiwan in the Asia-Pacific region, along with the Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu.

On the same visit, countries announced their first travel bubble during the covid-19 pandemic, according to the agency Reuters. “I am happy to announce the official launch of the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble,” said Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu.

The travel bubble will start in April, with two weekly flights carrying 110 tourists each from Taiwan to Palau. Travelers must pass negative tests and participate in tour groups, in which they will be asked to follow social distance rules, such as visiting only designated hotels and locations. Taiwan will also receive tourists traveling in groups from Palau.

The delegation of the president of Palau is made up of the American ambassador to the island state, John Hennessey-Niland, who thus became the first head of diplomatic representation in the United States to visit Taiwan since the Americans established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1979.

Since 2001, China has managed to prevent 17 Taiwanese diplomatic allies from recognizing their sovereignty, including Sao Tome and Principe.

The most recent to turn to Beijing were the Solomon Islands e Kiribati, but in the case of Palau, the question does not arise, according to its president.

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