Archipelago is refusing to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China, despite a huge downturn in its tourism industry

Wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sipping an iced tea, Ongerung Kambes Kesolei sits at a veranda bar overlooking a hotel pool, under fans that slowly push humid air around on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

But the calm of the scene is deceptive, for Kesolei is explaining that his small island home of Palau – a dot on the map in the north-west corner of the Pacific with a population of just over 20,000 people – has attracted the ire of one of the world’s most powerful nations and is now at the centre of a geo-political bunfight.

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Read More ‘Palau against China!’: the tiny island defying the world’s biggest country

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