23 Nov 2007

Some MPs eyeing switching allegiance from Taiwan to Beijing

3:18 pm on 23 November 2007

Some lawmakers in Palau are suggesting it break links with Taiwan and recognise China instead.

That's the view of Palau's ambassador in Taipei.

Taiwan is recognised by just 24 mostly impoverished countries around the world which it attracted with lavish aid - six of those nations are in the central Pacific.

The envoy Lydia Ngirablosch says some MP in Palau's 16-seat House of Delegates, speaking after visits from Chinese Foreign Ministry "scouts", had said ties with Beijing would offer more business opportunities.

She says the legislators supporting China say Palau could do better business with it given its booming economy.

Among the Palau lawmakers favouring ties with Beijing is one who is running for president next year, but Ms Ngirablosch says none of the pro-China legislators has made a formal proposals to change allegiance.

Meanwhile early indications after last Monday's election in the nearby Marshall Islands point to a possible change of government in the Marshall Islands, and the opposition is promising to switch allegiance to Beijing from Taiwan.