(CNS) Taiwan says it will lend ally Haiti $150 million for infrastructure development in a bid to shore up relations amid a renewed diplomatic onslaught by rival China that has stripped it of two foreign allies in the past month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee said Thursday the aid aimed to develop rural power grids in the impoverished Caribbean nation that is still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

Haiti is one of just 18 countries that continue to recognize self-ruling democratic Taiwan after the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso switched ties to Beijing last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and opposes any recognition of the island as an independent state. Beijing has been steadily increasing pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen over the past two years.