Taiwan is losing diplomatic allies. Last week the Solomon Islands voted to cut ties with Taipei and recognize China instead; Kiribati has reportedly followed suit. These shifts in recognition are the latest skirmishes in the diplomatic war fought between Taipei and Beijing, a battle that China is winning. Those victories are not having the desired effect in Taiwan, however. President Tsai Ing-wei's popularity is climbing, the result of Beijing's hard line against Taiwan and Hong Kong.

China is recognized as the rightful — and only — Chinese government by virtually all countries. Nearly twice as many afforded diplomatic recognition to Taiwan 20 years ago as do now, but Beijing launched a campaign to win their allegiance and convinced nine to cut relations with the island before a government that favored closer ties with Beijing came to power in Taipei. Beijing then declared a truce in the diplomatic war, ostensibly proving that working closely with the mainland and abandoning independence aspirations produced benefits.

When that government lost power in 2016 and Tsai of the independence-oriented Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became president, Beijing resumed the diplomatic offensive. Since Tsai took office, seven countries have cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, leaving Taipei with just 15 diplomatic allies, most of them small nations in Central America and the Pacific.