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Asia Insight

China seeks to flip nations in Pacific Great Game with US

Taiwan ties and geography give small islands big significance

CHRIS HORTON, Contributing writer | Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands

TAIPEI -- As the Pacific Islands Forum prepared to open in Tuvalu this month, the normally regionally focused event found itself in an unfamiliar position: at the center of the growing strategic competition between Washington and Beijing.

Baron Waqa, president of Nauru, which has a population of less than 10,000, called for greater inclusion of unofficial U.S. ally Taiwan -- which Nauru recognizes -- in international forums. Meanwhile, speculation was rife that the government of the Solomon Islands was preparing to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.

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