The foreign minister of Tuvalu pulled out of a United Nations conference on Monday after China forced out three Taiwanese participants. Tuvalu minister Simon Kofe was on his way to the event in Portugal when he decided to withdraw in protest against Beijing. Taiwan’s government thanked Tuvalu for its support, saying that China had once again exposed its evil nature.

Tsai Ing-wen

President (June 20)

Among Taiwan''s diplomatic allies in the Pacific, Tuvalu was the first to establish formal relations with us. We truly cherish this friendship. Taiwan and Tuvalu are both warm and kind maritime nations. On the international stage, Tuvalu has long spoken up in support of Taiwan.

Last Monday, President Tsai Ing-wen accepted the credentials of Tuvalu’s new ambassador and thanked the Pacific nation for supporting Taiwan. This week, Tuvalu once again backed Taiwan in the face of Chinese oppression.

The 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference opened on Monday in Portugal. Tuvalu had organized a delegation that included three Taiwanese members. According to foreign media, China demanded that Tuvalu remove its three Taiwanese delegates, threatening to revoke Tuvalu’s credentials. Tuvalu’s foreign minister, Simon Kofe, decided to withdraw from the forum in solidarity with the three Taiwanese delegates. He was en route to Portugal when he decided to pull out in protest against Beijing.

Zhao Lijian

China foreign ministry spokesman

The Taiwanese authorities have long played petty tricks in the international arena. Its so-called personnel debase themselves. By serving as the followers of other nations in the attempt to squeeze into the U.N. Ocean Conference, they are only demeaning themselves.

Tsuei Ching-lin

Taiwan foreign ministry deputy spokesman

We emphasize that China’s arbitrary suppression of member states only exposes its evil nature once again. Our government will continue to cooperate with our diplomatic allies and likeminded nations to keep China from expanding its malign influence in the U.N.

Simon Kofe

Tuvalu foreign minister (Nov. 9, 2021)

We must take bold alternative action today to secure tomorrow.

Last November, Tuvalu’s foreign minister addressed the United Nations COP26 climate summit while standing knee-deep in seawater. The speech highlighted what Tuvalu was doing to address rising sea levels and other climate change issues. Kofe made global headlines and has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. He’s now making waves again with his show of solidarity with Taiwan.