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Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 11:53 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Tonga breaks relations with Taiwan

The Kingdom of Tonga, in the south Pacific, is breaking off diplomatic relations with Taiwan to establish ties with China.

The Tongan Foreign Affairs Minister, Prince Lavaka Ata, confirmed that his government would not maintain or develop any relations with Taipei after the recognition of Beijing on Monday.

Taiwanese officials said the move was a major blow as Tonga was their oldest and most loyal Pacific ally.

Tonga is the fourth country this year to break ties with Taiwan, which is regarded by Beijing as a renegade province and is now officially recognized by only twenty-six countries.

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