Foreign relations of NauruFollowing independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.
Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.
In 2001 Nauru became host to approximately 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. A total of 549 of them remain on the island--318 of these have agreed to return to Afghanistan after receiving a cash package from Australia. Nauru reportedly received about $10 million in assistance from Australia in exchange for agreeing to house the refugees while their asylum applications are adjudicated.
During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This move followed the PRC's promise to provide more than U.S.$130 million in aid.