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Tiny Pacific Island nations have to choose between two Chinas

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One of the lesser unsolved mysteries of our time is why countries whose names end in "u" prefer the Republic of China (ROC — Taiwan) to the People's Republic of China (PRC -Beijing). Of the 15 countries in the world that still recognize Taiwan as the real and legitimate China, three have "u" at the end of their names: Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.

They are all South Pacific islands, so the "u" suffix probably just means "island" in the local languages. (I haven't checked.) But the score is now 10 pro-Beijing island countries in the South Pacific to four pro-Taipei ones — and three of those four end in "u." There's something suspicious going on here, and I think we should be told.

And here comes another one, though without a "u" at the end. Bougainville held a referendum last week on independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG). The result won't be declared until next week, but it's clearly going to be pro-independence.

And when, after further negotiations with PNG, the newly independent island nation of Bougainville (pop. 250,000) emerges, it will immediately have to choose between Beijing and Taipei. Why should........

© Peterborough Examiner