Solomon Islands votes to cut ties with Taiwan amid China tension - official media

by Reuters
Monday, 16 September 2019 10:42 GMT

TAIPEI, Sept 16 (Reuters) - The Solomon Islands' government has voted to cut official ties with Taiwan, its official Central News Agency reported on Monday.

The move deals a new blow to President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election in January amid rising tension with China.

Self-ruled Taiwan has formal relations with only 16 countries worldwide, but China claims Taiwan as its territory and says it has no right to formal ties with any nation.

Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, was set to hold a news conference later on Monday in the capital city of Taipei.

Solomon Islands is the sixth country Taiwan will lose as a diplomatic ally since Tsai came to office in 2016 -- following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and El Salvador. She has been criticised over her handling of Beijing.

A switch in allegiance would be a prize for Beijing in its campaign to secure allies from democratic Taiwan.

Taiwan vowed to fight China's "increasingly out of control" behaviour after El Salvador switched its allegiance to Beijing last year. (Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Timothy Heritage)

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