Receiving her at the Honiara International Airport as she stepped onto the tarmac from her aircraft along with her officials was Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare as the welcome party looked on.
Immediately after greeting her, the Prime Minister and the president were escorted on to a stage to be accorded a royal salute as the national anthem of Taiwan and Solomon Islands were played.
After the anthems were played, the Commissioner of Police Mathew Varley requested the President Ing-wen to inspect the guard of honour along with the Prime Minister as the greater welcome party of Solomon Islands government and Republic of China Embassy officials waited for them.
Thereafter, they were escorted back on stage for a final royal salute before being ushered out of the ceremonial arena and the Prime Minister shook hands with the president before she and her convoy left the airport to the city.
Immediately after the departure of the president, Taiwanese journalists who are part of the president’s entourage but arrived few hours ahead of the president’s arrival swarmed Prime Minister Sogavare and one of them immediately asked; “How do you face the motion of no confidence?”
In response, Mr Sogavare said “Ah it’s coming next and we’ll face it as it comes.”
When asked if the motion of no confidence will disturb the presidential visit schedule, the Prime Minister said: “everything is under control.”
When further asked if Solomon Islands relationship with Taiwan is stable, Prime Minister Sogavare said; “It’s a good, strong relationship which is based on fundamental principles. It’s now more than three decades old and it’s stronger than ever.”
Meanwhile, President Ing-wen has a busy day with the presidential visit schedule for today includes the following:
· Call on the Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui;
· Bilateral dialogue with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare;
· Courtesy call on the Speaker of Parliament Ajilon Nasiu;
· Address the National Parliament;
· State banquet hosted by the Governor General;
· Media session with accompanying Taiwan media;
· Visit the Taiwan Technical farm;
· Visit National Referral Hospital Taiwan Medical Centre;
· Banquet hosted by the Solomon Islands Government.
Prior to her departure tomorrow, the president will visit the National Art Gallery and the United States War memorials.
President Ing-wen’s visit to Honiara is part of a tri-nation tour that also covers the capitals of Tuvalu and Marshall Islands.
Taipei says the tour shows the importance it places on its relationship with its pacific ally countries and its strong determination to strengthen them.
The tri-nation pacific tour is her first to the pacific region since her election into office in 2016.
By DELI OSO