Voting Concludes in Tuvalu Election

    Voting Concludes in Tuvalu Election
    Photo: Sean Gallup/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Tuvalu's polls closed on Friday after voters in the small Pacific island nation of 11K people cast their ballot to elect members of its 16-seat parliament in an election that's being closely monitored by major powers, including China, the US, Australia, and Taiwan. Tuvalu is one of only three Pacific countries that still recognize Taiwan after Nauru re-established ties with Beijing earlier this month. 

    • This comes as Taiwan said on Thursday that China was attempting to sway the Tuvalu election to "seize our diplomatic allies." At a press briefing, China's foreign ministry said it had urged the remaining handful of countries that still have diplomatic relations with Taiwan to adhere to the one-China policy. 

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    While it's true that many countries have been pressured by Beijing to cut ties with their former friend Taiwan, that doesn't mean Tuvalu needs or wants to end its diplomatic relations. The two islands have shared strong ties on many issues, including agriculture, fisheries, and health — areas in which diplomatic cooperation is paramount. The two countries also share values that Beijing doesn't respect: freedom and democracy.

    Pro-China narrative

    Tuvalu officials have already hinted at the potential for their government to correct course and respect China's sovereignty related to Taiwan. Now that Nauru — another small island nation — has withstood the pressure of Western governments, Tuvalu should feel secure enough to ignore Western rhetoric and join the majority of the world in distancing itself from Taiwan and strengthening its already-strong relationship with Beijing.

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