The Solomon Islands formed diplomatic relations with China on Saturday after breaking ties with rival Taiwan, giving Beijing another victory in its campaign to isolate the self-ruled island it claims as part of its territory.
The two governments announced in a joint statement they were forming diplomatic ties “in keeping with the interests and desire of the two peoples.”
The Solomons broke relations with Taiwan last week, leaving the island with fewer than 20 governments that recognize it as an independent country.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after the Communist Party won a civil war on the mainland. They have extensive commercial ties but no official relations.
Taiwan is the last territory controlled by the Republic of China government that ruled the united country from 1911 until the war.
The communist Beijing government has used China’s growing economic weight to isolate Taiwan diplomatically. The mainland government has threatened to attack if the island declares formal independence or delays talks on uniting the two sides. AP