China's campaign to lure Taiwan's diplomatic allies concerns U.S.
Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu announced at a press conference earlier Friday that Taiwan was cutting diplomatic ties with Kiribati after receiving notice from the central Pacific nation of its decision to switch allegiance to Beijing.
"China's active campaign to alter the cross-strait status quo, including by enticing countries to discontinue diplomatic ties with Taiwan, is harmful and undermines regional stability," AIT said.
"It undermines the framework that has enabled peace, stability and development for decades."
AIT, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, lauded Taiwan's significant contributions to addressing global challenges and said the U.S. will continue to support Taiwan, which it described as a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in the world.
Taiwan has lost its second diplomatic ally in a week, after the Solomon Islands severed ties on Monday. This leaves Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies worldwide. Among them, four are in the South Pacific -- Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.
Kiribati has a population of around 110,000 and was once Taiwan's second-largest diplomatic ally in the Pacific region in terms of population, next to the Solomon Islands. It first established diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1980 but switched to Taipei in November 2003.