Taiwan on Wednesday called it “regrettable” that Fiji had recently decided to reverse its previous decision to allow the Taiwanese representative office in the country to revert to its former name, which includes “Republic of China,” (ROC) because of Chinese pressure.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) condemned the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for yet another attempt to degrade the nation’s sovereignty, the ministry said in a press release.

The new Fiji government, elected late last year, originally notified Taiwan in March that its representative office there could revert to its former name, which included “ROC,” the formal name of Taiwan.

At the time, the Fiji government also said that privileges for Taiwanese diplomats at the representative office, which had been revoked in 2018 by the then-government, would be restored in accordance with Fiji’s Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1971.

In response, the Taiwan government had thanked the Fiji administration and expressed the hope that the two sides would continue to deepen their friendly relations, MOFA had said.

However, MOFA’s statement on Wednesday said Fiji had been facing huge pressure from the PRC regarding the issue.

The Chinese embassy in Fiji had been threatening to take retaliatory measures and PRC Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu visited the country on 13 April to ramp up pressure on Fiji over the matter, MOFA added.

After several rounds of cabinet meetings, Fiji ultimately gave in to the Chinese over the matter and recently informed the Taiwan government that its office there will have to stick to its existing name, “Taipei Trade Office in Fiji,” the statement added.

Although it’s regrettable that Fiji could not stick to its original stance on the matter, MOFA said it is still willing to work closely with the Pacific Island nation on various fronts.

Fiji was the first Pacific island country to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC, in 1975. China set up an embassy there in 1976, and Fiji opened its embassy in China in 2001.

Despite the lack of official diplomatic ties with the ROC, Fiji’s leaders have visited Taiwan and have advocated on several occasions for Taiwan’s participation in international organisations, according to a diplomatic source, who asked not to be named.