By Pacific Island Times News Staff
While maintaining its one-China policy, the United States sought to solicit international support for Taiwan, which is faced with a dwindling number of diplomatic allies.
"Taiwan is a reliable, like-minded, and democratic partner," Matthew Miller, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said in a statement.
The department issued the statement on the heels of Nauru's move to cut with Taiwan in favor of China, leaving Taipei with only 12 nations that recognize it as a sovereign country.
"While the government of Nauru’s action on Jan. 15 to sever its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan is a sovereign decision, it is nonetheless a disappointing one," Miller said, warning that the outcome of the Pacific island nation's action may not be what it expects.
"The PRC often makes promises in exchange for diplomatic relations that ultimately remain unfulfilled," Miller said. "We encourage all countries to expand engagement with Taiwan and to continue to support democracy, good governance, transparency, and adherence to the rule of law."
Miller said the U.S. will continue to deepen and expand its engagement with Taiwan and support its meaningful participation in the international community "and deepen our economic ties, consistent with our longstanding one-China policy."
In the U.S. Congress, Rep. Uifa’atali Amata Radewagen said Nauru's choice does not represent the entire Pacific island region's diplomatic sentiment.
“I am certain that the decision by Nauru did not take our professional diplomats by surprise, and will be an exception in the Pacific islands," Radewagen said.
"I have a lifetime of ties and experience within the Pacific islands, and I’m confident that by far most leadership throughout the Pacific islands fully supports a strong U.S. commitment in the region, and appreciates Taiwan’s role in our many economic and security partnerships that provide enduring regional stability, peace and prosperity," she added.
Radewagen said Pacific island nations have "a widespread desire" to stand with the U.S. and its key allies including Taiwan.
She congratulated Lai Ching-te on his election as Taiwan's new president.
"The peoples of the Pacific islands value and support the right to self-determination and democratic elections, for themselves and their neighbors," American Samoa's delegate to Congress said.