Pro-Taiwan prime minister of Tuvalu loses seat in parliamentary election

The prime minister of Tuvalu who has maintained the South Pacific nation's ties with Taiwan has lost his seat in a parliamentary election.

Reuters and other media outlets reported that Kausea Natano failed to retain his seat in the election on Friday.

Tuvalu is one of the small number of countries that have diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Natano visited Taiwan in 2022 and held talks with President Tsai Ing-wen.

He also sought closer ties with Australia, by signing in November a wide-ranging agreement that covers security matters.

The 16-member parliament will elect a new prime minister.

Taiwanese media are reporting that Tuvalu may become the latest country to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan because some of the newly elected legislators are calling for a review of the bilateral relations.

China has been exercising greater influence on South Pacific island nations. Nauru switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China this month.