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Taiwan leader to visit Pacific allies to firm up ties

AFP  |  Taipei 

Taiwan's Ing-wen will visit three Pacific nations this month to shore up ties, the foreign ministry said Tuesday, as seeks to lure away Taipei's dwindling number of allies.

will visit Palau, and between March 21 and March 28 -- her second official visit to the Pacific amid growing concerns about targeting in the region.

has stepped up diplomatic pressure on since took office in 2016, as she has refused to acknowledge its "one China" policy.

The two sides split after a civil war in 1949, but still sees the self-ruling island as part of its territory to be brought back into the fold.

Five have switched official recognition to Beijing since Tsai became president, leaving with only 17 diplomatic allies including six in the Pacific.

Beijing has also made progress with the Vatican, Taiwan's most powerful official ally and its only one in Europe, by signing a landmark agreement with the Holy See on the appointment of bishops last year.

A growing list of international companies have been pressured to list as part of on their websites while has also been blocked from attending a string of international events.

"Our allies in the Pacific have fully supported our participation in the international community," told reporters.

"We believe that this visit will increase the understanding of among the people in these ... and for Taiwanese people to get familiar with our good friends."

Tsai, Taiwan's first female leader, will also meet with Hilda Heine, the first female in the and join a women leaders' conference hosted by the country, Hsu added.

He declined to give details about where Tsai will transit, saying it is "pending negotiation." Taiwan is typically low-key in announcing its leader's specific itineraries, fearing China's use of its power to disrupt.

Tsai's last state visit was to in August with US transits that prompted an official protest from Beijing after she gave a speech in -- the first time in 15 years that a Taiwanese leader spoke publicly on US soil.

A Taiwanese bakery chain was pressured to declare its "firm support for the "one China" policy following boycott calls in after serving Tsai at its shop in

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 12 2019. 13:25 IST