By ANDREW FANASIA
THE Government last night cut off the nation’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
This came after Cabinet endorsed a Caucus resolution to severe the 36-year-old relationship.
The decision came just hours after Taiwan’s deputy Foreign Affairs minister Dr Sze-chien Hsu landed in Honiara in a last-ditch effort to save the ties.
Hsu was greeted at the Honiara International Airport by women’s groups, a church group, and parents of students currently studying in Taiwan.
He also announced during a press conference new funding package for Solomon Islands.
But the Sogavare Government has already made up its mind.
After Caucus voted in the resolution to switch ties in the afternoon, cabinet wasted no time to endorse it.
Government insiders said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who leaves for the United Nations General Assembly in New York this weekend, will announce the decision when he addresses the UN.
No statement was issued on the decision last night.
Taiwan reacted to the decision by condemning it, adding “it’s extremely regrettable”.
At the same time, Taipei declared the termination of its diplomatic relations with Solomon Islands with immediate effect, the end of all bilateral cooperative projects, as well as the recall of the staff of its Embassy, technical mission, and medical mission stationed in Solomon Islands.
“The Taiwan government also demands that Solomon Islands immediately recall its government personnel from Taiwan,” a statement Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs ministry issued, said.
It’s also expected that 125 Solomon Islanders currently studying in Taiwan under fully funded Taiwanese scholarships will be sent back home, according to Taiwanese officials.
Some have just left last month.
“Taiwan believes that the majority of the Solomon Islanders will find the decision unacceptable since it completely lacks credibility.”
Taipei also hits out at Beijing.
“The government of China has once again resorted to dollar diplomacy and false promises of large amounts of foreign assistance to buy off a small number of politicians, so as to ensure that the government of Solomon Islands adopted a resolution to terminate relations with Taiwan before China’s National Day on October 1.
“Beijing’s purpose is to diminish Taiwan’s international presence, hurt the Taiwanese people, and gradually suppress and eliminate Taiwan’s sovereignty.
“It is absolutely evident that China, through this case, deliberately seeks to influence Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and legislative elections.
“The government strongly condemns China’s attempts to suppress Taiwan, and calls on the people of Taiwan to continue to uphold our national sovereignty, champion the principles of freedom and democracy, reach out to the international community, and serve as a force for good in the world.
“Taiwan has never capitulated under any setback in the international arena.
“Nor has it ever been defeated by any attempt at suppression.
“The more challenges Taiwan has faced, the more determined it has become.
“Taiwan has shown the international community that, faced with the expansionism of authoritarian regimes, will stand firm on the frontlines of democracy and remain staunchly committed to serving as an example to the world.
“The government of Taiwan solemnly urges the international community to recognize China’s continued efforts to expand its authoritarianism, set debt traps for other countries, and fulfil its strategic goals and gain influence in the Indo-Pacific region through a wide array of aggressive actions.
“Free and democratic countries have no alternative but to unite together to maintain a free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and jointly defend the shared values of democracy and human rights.”