Taiwan has rejected accusations it is engaging in chequebook diplomacy in the Pacific and buying loyalty from poorer countries in exchange for aid.

Taipei has relationships with six Pacific nations, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu and works hard to prevent those nations switching allegiances to mainland China.

China still claims the self-ruled island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

Taiwan's representative to Australia, Katharine Chang, denies the country is engaged in chequebook diplomacy in the region as part of a strategy to boost recognition of Taipei.

"No more chequebook diplomacy. All the assistance we offer to the developing countries we ensure that our aim, the goal should be legitimate and the process in accordance with the law," she said.

Taiwan says its assistance to the Pacific is about sharing economic prosperity and providing practical help to countries in renewable energy, vocational training, medical assistance and protecting the region's tuna stocks.

Ms Chang, denied the relationship is a form of chequebook diplomacy, and says it is mutually beneficial.

"We don't give them fish. However we teach them fishing. In that way throughout your life you always have fish to eat. That is Taiwan's way in our joint co-operation in offering assistance to Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific. All these countries value their relationship with us very much."

Ms Chang said the Taipei-Beijing relationship was good with strong tourism and co-operation between both sides despite the sovereignty dispute.

"Mainland claims of sovereignty over Taiwan that is totally ungrounded," she said.

"(But) last year alone, 2.5 million Chinese visited Taiwan through people to people exchanges... the cross-strait relationship is in its best shape in comparison with the last sixty years.

Ms Chang maintained Taipei retained a strong relationship with the Solomon Islands despite reports the country's Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo is actively courting Beijing.

 

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