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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.

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