The President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, says the country's diplomatic allies are free to develop informal relations with China.
President Ma made the comment during a visit to Taiwan by the Kiribati President Anote Tong.
Kiribati is one of six Pacific nations that recognises Taiwan.
President Ma's statement confirmed his policies of viable diplomacy and diplomatic truce with China, meaning the two countries should not try to take away each other's allies.
President Ma says Taiwan will strengthen its relations with Kiribati, but won't oppose Kiribati developing unofficial relations with China.
Chinese fisheries concerns are understood to be keen on a co-operation project with Kiribati, while Taiwan is building a new airport there.
President Ma also says he hopes more young I-Kiribati will go to Taiwan to study English teaching and Mandarin Chinese.