Taipei: – China is using the ‘Carrot and Stick’ policy to make Palau sever its ties with Taiwan. But Surangel Whipps, President of Palau, assured that Palau would never sever its relations with Taiwan despite the Chinese pressure. President Whipps is on a visit to Taiwan with his delegation. US Ambassador to Palau, John Hennessey-Niland, is a part of the Palau President’s delegation. The visit of the Palau President to Taiwan and the US Ambassador’s inclusion in the delegation is considered to be a blow to the Chinese expansionist policy.
Palau is an island country located close to Australia. The total population of the country is a mere 21,600. Therefore, even a small country like Palau has made China aware that it cannot play with its sovereign rights. China threatens that the countries establishing ties with Taiwan will have to face the heat of Chinese opposition. Last year, China turned the countries the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, which established relations with Taiwan on its side using pressure.
China attempted the same technique with the small island country, Palau. But Palau defied the Chinese pressure and maintained its stand that Taiwan is an independent country. The Palau President’s visit to Taiwan and the assurance given during the visit demonstrate that the Palau stand is the same. President Whipps revealed the Chinese modus operandi for pressurising a small country like Palau.
President Whipps exposed the Chinese modus operandi saying, ‘The Palau economy is dependent on tourism. Aware of this fact, initially, China sent a large number of tourists to Palau. More than 50% of the tourists coming to Palau for a few years since 2010 were from China. The Palau economy benefited from the inflow. But after that, China banned tourism to Palau and started pressurising it.’
The Palau President said that this Chinese carrot and stick policy had a negative impact. President Whipps clarified that Palau would not sever ties with Taiwan saying, ‘You can dangle a carrot to change people’s opinions. But after giving the carrot, you cannot ask the person to stop talking to or not be friends with a third person. We will not tolerate anyone telling us not to be friendly with someone.’
The inclusion of the US Ambassador in President Whipps’ delegation is significant. US Ambassador Hennessey Niland met the Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu along with the Palau President. This is the first instance in the last 42 years that a US Ambassador is on an official Taiwan visit. China has reacted strongly to the US Ambassador’s visit to Taiwan, and the Chinese foreign ministry warned the United States not to send wrong signals to Taiwan. It has been exposed that the Chinese fighter jets intruded into the Taiwanese airspace while the Palau President was in Taiwan.