SOLOMON Islands still maintain a strong and robust relationship with Republic of China (Taiwan).
Acting permanent secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Joseph Ma’ahanua explained this after questions raised in the public that Solomon Islands might change its diplomatic relationship from Taiwan to mainland China.
This came after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare met with visiting Papua New Guinea-based Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Wang Genhua in Honiara last week.
His meeting had attracted questions from the Independent Group and Opposition Group and members of the public in social media.
Ma’ahanua said the Prime Minister took up the responsibility to meet with the China’s counselor as leader of one political party in the coalition government.
He said as far as Ministry of Foreign Affairs is concern, Solomon Islands as a sovereign nation still maintains its diplomatic stand with Taiwan.
Furthermore, Ma’ahanua said the questions of having trade relationship with China is a different issue from diplomatic relationship.
“Bearing in mind that in the world of commerce or business diplomacy, there is no rules governing that.
“In a global open business world, we can always engage positively in trade, investment and labour mobility,” Ma’ahanua, who is also a diplomat, said.
He gave an example of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, who have diplomatic relationships with China but have offices of trade in Taipei (capital of Taiwan).
Therefore, Ma’ahanua said Prime Minister’s visit to Taiwan now signifies the ongoing strong and robust relationship with Taiwan.
Solomon Islands has had diplomatic relations with the Republic of China since 1983.
Both countries maintain resident diplomatic missions in their respective capitals.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister Press Secretariat, Prime Minister Sogavare asked the China Counselor, Genhua is China could consider investing in appropriate technology areas in Solomon Islands.
He said his country needs investors who can invest their money in appropriate technology transfers such as telecommunications technology, rural electrification and in food processing technology.
By EDDIE OSIFELO