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Newsline: Pacific’s Micronesia mulls switching diplomatic ties from Beijing to Taiwan

The Federated States of Micronesia held talks with Taiwan in February about switching diplomatic ties for $50 million in assistance after growing frustrated at China, the outgoing president of the Pacific island nation has said in a letter. Tensions between the United States and China for security influence in the Pacific islands are rising, and FSM President David Panuelo was a prominent critic of China’s attempt to strike a 10-nation security and trade pact. Panuelo lost his seat in Tuesday’s national poll, election officials confirmed. In a letter sent to state governors viewed by Reuters, Panuelo said he met with Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu in February to discuss switching diplomatic recognition. “I was transparent with Foreign Minister Wu; we project we need an injection of approximately $50,000,000 to meet our future needs. We can and will receive this, over a three year period, if and when we establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” he wrote. “Taiwan assures me that they will simply ‘pick up’ any and all projects that China is currently undertaking.” (https://neuters.de/world/pacifics-micronesia-talks-switch-ties-beijing-taiwan-letter-2023-03-10/) The aid would come on top of “greatly added layers of security and protection that come with our country distancing itself from the PRC, which has demonstrated a keen capability to undermine our sovereignty, reject our values, and uses our elected and senior officials for their own purposes,” he added. An interim $15 million annual assistance package was also offered, he wrote. A spokesperson from the FSM president’s office declined to comment and Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it was working on a statement.

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