China ‘highly appreciates’ Solomon Islands’ break with Taiwan

Chinese’s spokeswoman Hua Chunying says the Chinese government appreciates Solomon Islands’ decision to severe ties with Taiwan. (CGTN screenshot, Youtube pic)

BEIJING: China on Monday welcomed the Solomon Islands’ decision to nix diplomatic ties with Taiwan, a move that leaves the self-governing island with recognition from just 16 nations.

“The Chinese side highly appreciates the Solomon Islands government’s decision to …  sever the so-called ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan authorities,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement shortly before midnight.

“We welcome the Solomon Islands in seizing a historical opportunity,” she added.

The switch is a major coup for Beijing just weeks before it celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

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.