Pacific's Tuvalu to 'stand firm' with Taiwan over China

STORY: Speaking at a welcome ceremony in Taipei hosted by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano said their 43 years of relations were based upon "principles of democracy, trust, human rights and freedom of the individual.”

"We continue to stand firm in our commitment to remain a lasting and loyal ally of the Republic of China," he said, referring to Taiwan's official name.

Tuvalu, with a population of around 10,000, is one of four nations in the Pacific where Beijing and Washington are tussling for influence, and is one of only 14 countries to retain full diplomatic relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

“Tuvalu has always proactively shown staunch support for Taiwan," Tsai said. "I’d like to represent all of Taiwan’s people and extend my heartfelt gratitude to Tuvalu for its invaluable friendship.”

This is Natano’s first trip to Taiwan since being elected in 2019. Taiwan lost two Pacific allies, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, in that year. The Marshall Islands, Nauru and Palau have, like Tuvalu, stuck with Taipei.