Vowing to maintain the Federated States of Micronesia’s One-China policy, two FSM parliamentarians have introduced a resolution rejecting a regional policy statement giving Beijing and Taipei an equal diplomatic recognition.
“Congress calls on other countries to respect the sovereign right of the FSM to determine its foreign policy and no attempt should be made by neighboring countries to undermine that right,” states the resolution filed by Reps. Wesley W. Simina and Isaac. V. Figir.
The resolution was in response to a communiqué signed by regional leaders during the 19th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit held in Palau in February.
“The presidents and heads of delegation strongly encouraged that the (Pacific Islands Forum) and the Secretariat establish a more respectful and fair policy regarding the conduct of PIF activities relating to the participation of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan,” the communique reads.
Such a call runs counter to FSM’s official foreign policy, Simina and Figir stated in the resolution. Read related stories
Amid China’s Game of Thrones with Taiwan, the FSM Congress said last year the nation “strictly abides” by the One-China policy.
Beijing has been stepping up its campaign to seclude its runaway province from the Pacific islands region, the bulwark of Taiwan's diplomatic alliance. Palau, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru and Tuvalu generally favor Taipei over Beijing.
Palau’s diplomatic switch to Taiwan irked Beijing, prompting it to impose a ban on Chinese tourists to the tiny Pacific nation and cancel its approved destination status in November 2017. The ban left Palau’s hotels empty in 2018.
In a bid to seal and expand its growing influence in the region, China has been doling out aid to Pacific island nations. The Lowy Institute last year reported that China has pledged to give $4 billion in aid to a group of Pacific island nations — a significant increase from the $280 million it committed in 2016. “That means it is set to overtake Australia, traditionally the most important giver in the region, to become the Pacific Islands’ biggest source of aid,” the Lowy Institute said.
The FSM is among the recipients of China’s largesse and Beijing is clearly FSM’s alternative financial refuge as it braces for the 2023 termination of U.S. grants under the Compact of Free Association.
The congressional resolution requests FSM President Peter Christian “to communicate to the relevant countries the reservations of Congress” to the regional policy statement.
China and FSM established their diplomatic relations on Sept. 11, 1989. The Chinese government first established an embassy in the capital of Palikir in 1990, and deployed its first ambassador in 1991. They renewed their diplomacy in January this year.