China and Kiribati have established diplomatic relations, Chinese state media reported Saturday, days after the tiny Pacific island nation severed ties with Taiwan.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Kiribati”s President Taneti Mamau on Friday signed a joint communique to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries on the sidelines of the UN climate summit, Xinhua reported.
The move is a coup for Beijing just days before it marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People”s Republic of China, and comes a week after the Solomon Islands also dropped diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
And it leaves the self-ruled island more isolated than ever with just 15 states left that recognise it.
Taiwan has been a de facto sovereign nation since the end of a civil war in 1949, but China still views the island as its territory and has vowed to seize it — by force if necessary.
Over the decades, as China”s economic and military power has grown, most countries, including the United States and most Western nations, switched recognition to Beijing.
Only a handful still recognise Taiwan, largely in Latin America and the Pacific.
Taipei has accused Beijing of using “dollar diplomacy” to buy off its few remaining allies.