Taiwan still a close friend: PM - Solomon Star News

Taiwan still a close friend: PM

13 May 2019

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured a stronger relationship with its long-time partner, the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Sogavare highlighted this in his speech last Wednesday night, at a dinner hosted on-board the ROC Navy Squadron Flagship.

This camefollowing what he described as a fruitful meeting with His Excellency the Ambassador Roger Luo last week.

Prior to the meeting of both allies, the international media has stated that Solomon Islands could be the next Taiwanese ally to leave the self-ruled island nation.

However, speaking at the reception Mr Sogavare assured Ambassador Luoof the DCGA Government’s ongoing allegiance to Taiwan and commitment to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

“Last week, I had the opportunity of meeting with Ambassador Luo, our first meeting since I was elected Prime Minister.

“Our meeting was fruitful. His Excellency assured me of Taiwan’s on-going commitment to further strengthen relationships with Solomon Islands,” he said.

Sogavare said that Ambassador Luo also assured that Taiwan is keen to further its investments in the country especially in the agriculture, fisheries and renewable energy sectors.

He said the relationship between the two countries has matured and Taiwan will remain an important partner and continue to be Solomon Islands’ companion in its development journey.

“You and I would agree that there is a need to venture out beyond support for the political leadership, which has often been decried in those opinionated pieces,” he said.

He said that there are questions on the Solomon Islands new foreign policy approach given the fast changing international environment.

He assured that his government is taking the evolving global geo-political dynamics and the associated under-currents resulting from global changes which impacted the countries in the region including Solomon Islands seriously.

Sogavare said Solomon Islands economy is not keeping pace with its development agenda.

“Our resources are declining and our population is rapidly increasing.

‘We also face the challenge of climate change and its negative impacts on our livelihood, human security and development,” he added.

He said that more transformative and durable partnerships are needed to build a resilient population and guarantee the unity and stability of the country.

He added that new forms of political relations must be forged to enhance durable and transformative partnerships that are needed now more than ever before.

“We are working to achieve a win-win outcome through maximising the benefits from our international relations to boost domestic growth of economy,” he said.

Ambassador Luo acknowledges Solomon Island’s staunch support for Taiwan’s membership in international organisations such as the United Nations, WHA, ICAO and other UN-affiliated agencies.

“I vividly remembered how strong PM Sogavare and former PM Rick Houenipwela voiced their support for Taiwan at the UNGA.

“As PM Sogavare often stated that our relations are grounded on common values such as freedom, democracy and human rights.

“When he spoke from this lectern two years ago, he reminded the young generations of the assistance Taiwan rendered to Solomon Islands during the tension years that prevented the country from falling apart,” the Ambassador added.

The fruitful outcome of the meeting of the two leaders last week should layto rest any speculations of a likely change of allegiance.

His Excellency Luo said that the speculations are after all not true and the two countries are working hard to improve relations.

Ambassador Luo said that PM Sogavare had assured him during the meeting that his government is looking forward to continuing cooperation with Taiwan to further consolidate relations.

“I mentioned to the PM last week that Taiwan remained committed to ensuring the continuation of relations into the future,” he added.

He said that whist SIG strives to further enhance the livelihood of its citizens, Taiwan will spare no efforts in taking our cooperation to a higher level.