What Happened: A parliamentary task force in the Solomon Islands has formally recommended that the government cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of mainland China, Reuters reported Sept. 12.
Why It Matters: The task force's recommendation will launch a process of deliberation among the island nation's lawmakers over whether to formally switch its diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing, although there is no clear timeline on a final decision. Pressure from Canberra, Wellington and Washington will complicate the process, mainly due to Australia's strong economic ties with the Solomon Islands, which account for 58 percent of the country's foreign aid.
Background: The election of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare resulted in a renewed push by the government to sever its diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China, which is the destination of 65.2 percent of the island country's exports. China has long courted Taiwan's foreign allies in an attempt to isolate Taipei diplomatically amid a renewed independence push by Taiwan's ruling party.