25 Jan 2008

Shift expected in Taiwan's Pacific policy

4:26 pm on 25 January 2008

A Taiwanese politician says the election of a new government in Taiwan could signal an end to dollar diplomacy in the Pacific.

Yang Li-Huan, who is a Kuomintang member of Taiwan's Legislative, has told Pacific magazine the rise to power of her party in elections could end competition between Taiwan and China for influence in the Pacific.

The Kuomintang party, which favours closer ties with China, dominated the Taiwanese election earlier this month, winning 81 of 113 seats.

She says in the past few years China has pressured many countries to break off relations with Taiwan, mainly because it believes Taiwan is using relations with these countries to push for independence.

Taiwan and China have in the past been criticised by countries including Australia for using aid money to buy influence and diplomatic recognition from Pacific countries.

Of the 24 countries that recognise Taiwan diplomatically, six are in the Pacific.