The Micronesian president accused China of «political warfare» in a letter to other national leaders and discussed switching diplomatic allegiance from China to Taiwan in exchange for $50 million.

President David Panuelo said China had been using nefarious tactics, including spying and offering bribes, in an effort to ensure that if it went to war with Taiwan, Micronesia would align with China instead of the United States, or at least side with it. would refrain from taking sides

Panuelo sent the 13-page letter dated March 9, obtained by The Associated Press, to state governors and other political leaders in the Pacific nation.

The letter was an unusually candid assessment of China’s motives in the region and laid bare the financial incentives for smaller countries to switch diplomatic allegiances.

If Micronesia were to switch allegiance to Taiwan, it would represent a rare victory for the self-governing island, after several Pacific nations have switched allegiance from Taiwan to China in recent years.

“I believe that our values ​​are currently being used against us,” Panuelo wrote in his letter. «One of the reasons China’s political warfare succeeds in so many arenas is that we are bribed into complicity, bribed into silence.»

He gave examples, saying that when the vice president was a senator, the Chinese ambassador asked him to accept an envelope full of money, which he refused.

China denied the accusations.

“We take note of relevant reports, in which the defamation and accusations against China are completely inconsistent with the facts,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said at a daily briefing on Friday.

«We have always respected Micronesia’s development path that it has chosen in light of its own national conditions and have supported the Micronesian side in safeguarding independence,» Mao said.

Panuelo gave other examples of what he called China’s “grey area” activities. He said Chinese research ships had been operating within Micronesia’s ocean territory to spy, mapping potential resources and submarine travel routes.

He said that when he traveled to Fiji in July to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, he was followed by two Chinese men, whom Micronesia discovered worked for the Chinese Embassy in Fiji and included an intelligence officer.

“To be clear: I have received direct threats against my personal safety from PRC (People’s Republic of China) officials acting in an official capacity,” Panuelo wrote.

He said he met with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu in February and told him that Micronesia would need money for its trust fund if it were to switch diplomatic allegiances.

“I was transparent with Foreign Minister Wu; we project that we need an injection of approximately $50 million to meet our future needs,” Panuelo wrote. «We can and will receive this, for a period of three years, as long as we establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan.»

He said Micronesia would also receive a $15 million annual assistance package and Taiwan would take over several projects China had started, including a national convention center, two state government complexes and two gymnasiums.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry declined to comment on the details of Panuelo’s letter.

«Taiwan shares core values ​​such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law with like-minded countries that care about peace in the Pacific region,» the ministry said in a statement. “As a responsible member of the Indo-Pacific region, we will continue to work hand in hand with like-minded countries around the world.”

Panuelo concluded by saying that he loved Micronesia too much not to inform them about the types of threats and opportunities facing the country, even if writing the letter put him, his family and his staff at risk.