SOLOMON Islands has formally established ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the weekend.
The signing of the deal came five days after the country abandoned its ties with Taiwan on Monday 16th September.
A statement from the Prime Ministers Office said Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele signed the joint communiqué on behalf of the country with the State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi of the Chinese government.
The signing ceremony was conducted on Saturday in Beijing.
This formalizes the diplomatic relations between the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China, a statement from the Prime Ministers Office said last night.
The government of Solomon Islands last week made the decision to sever its 36 years ties with Taiwan following a review of its foreign policy.
Mr. Manele at the signing ceremony said the Solomon Islands’ decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, was based on “national interests”.
“The development challenges for our country are huge. We need a broader partnership with countries that also includes China.
“We have aligned our policy with international law in compliance with UN resolution 2758. We therefore recognize the one china policy.
“International law for Solomon Islands is our first and last line of defense,” he said.
He said Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China are members of the United Nations and they subscribe to the spirit and principles of the UN Charter.
“Both countries are members of the group of 77 and China, we belong to the same region (Asia and Pacific region), parties to numerous multilateral frameworks and remain united in combating poverty and placing all developing countries on a sustainable development path.
“Over decades Solomon Islands has been working with China multilaterally, China is Solomon Islands largest trading partner, the step taken cements our bilateral relations,” he said.
Solomon Islands government has taken the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China on Monday 16th September, Minister Manele said.
“We adopted a structured approach in taking such a decision. Solomon Islands decision to establish relations with the People’s Republic of China is also based on our national interests,
“The development challenges of my country are huge. We need a broader partnership with everyone including the PRC. The impact of climate change is happening three times faster than the global average. NDC is claiming 7/10 lives,” he told the occasion.
Minister Manele highlighted South South Cooperation is part and partial of Solomon Islands foreign policy. It compliments current north south partnership Solomon Islands have with its traditional partners.
China’s development‘s experience and development outreach to the developing world presents opportunities for Solomon Islands, he expressed.
“Formalizing of Relations today (Saturday) opens up dialogue between the two states to open up cooperation in all areas.
“I am indeed honoured to announce that Solomon Islands has become the 179th country to have diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
“Solomon Islands is ready to begin a new era of relations with the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Mr Manele also conveyed congratulations on behalf of the government and people of Solomon Islands to the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China on their 70th Anniversary.
He was also accompanied by Minister Bradley Tovosia and two other officials.
Mr Manele is now in New York for the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) which gets underway this week.
Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Yi after the signing said he looks forward for a quick development of bilateral ties with the Solomon Islands.
He told reporters in Beijing after signing diplomatic ties with the Solomon Islands that it was “neither reasonable nor sustainable” for them not to have formal ties.
“This was a strategic decision, a transparent decision and a natural decision,” Mr Yi said of the Solomon Island’s decision to desert Taiwan, standing next to Mr Manele at a state guesthouse in Beijing at the signing ceremony.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address to the people of Solomon Islands on Friday said the formal recognition of the sovereignty of the Peoples Republic of China under the UN Resolution 2758 is supported by all UN countries except 16 underdeveloped nations which raises questions over whose interests does this minority support of small nations serve to represent against the vast majority of the global democracy?
“Solomon Islands cannot answer for other nations but to determine the most appropriate way forward for the good of our country and people is the reason why Cabinet collectively decided on the appointment of a Bi-Partisan Taskforce to investigate and confirm the facts surrounding the ‘One China Principle’ while MFAET was also tasked to provide a report on the review of our diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
“The execution of these documents begins the process of negotiating a series of sectoral technical corporations which will guide our engagements with the people and Government of PRC,” he said.
By IAN KAUKUI