The Leader of the Independent Group in Parliament, Hon. Dr. Derek Sikua has raised concern over Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s proposals with mainland China.
Last week PM had met the visiting PNG-based Chinese Envoy to Honiara.
Dr Sikua in the statement said, PM had told the visiting envoy that United Democratic Party (UDP) may establish ties with the Communist Party and that Solomon Islands may seek Chinese help to build sports infrastructure in preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games.
Reacting to the report, Dr Sikua described it is an affront and an insult to the good and cordial bilateral relations between Solomon Islands and the Republic of China/Taiwan (ROC/Taiwan) which has been nurtured for more than 30 years.
“And for PM Sogavare to be telling the Chinese Envoy such things on the eve of his departure to Taipei to meet the new President of the ROC/Taiwan speaks volumes of a tactless, undiplomatic and insensitive leader.
“In fact, this is not the first time PM Sogavare has done this to a diplomatic-ally whom he loves to refer to publicly on many occasions as: “A Friend Indeed During Our Country’s Darkest Hour”.
“In my view, this slur by PM Sogavare on our relations with ROC/Taiwan therefore, renders his trip with a very big delegation to Taipei meaningless.
“Because of this diplomatic blunder by PM Sogavare, the rest of his delegation should return from Brisbane and he should proceed to Taipei with his usual entourage to apologise to President Tsai Ing-Wen first.
“The kind invitation by the Taiwanese Government to PM Sogavare and to Members of his Cabinet and Caucus was made before his diplomatic insult and outrage.
“Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect that a formal apology would be in order before any normal bilateral relations at the official, business and cultural level can be restored and continued.
“What I cannot comprehend is how PM Sogavare can downplay this diplomatic slight and indignity and still decide to go to Taipei or has there been a change in Solomon Islands Foreign Policy?
“If so, then many of us are still not aware of this change in Solomon Islands Foreign Policy towards ROC/Taiwan.
“As it stand, PM Sogavare is ‘biting the hand that feeds him’ and this is a very precarious move which I am told has already eroded the cordial and friendly relations between Solomon Islands and ROC/Taiwan.
“Such betrayal of SI/ROC relations can end up in Solomon Islands gaining nothing and nobody will trust us in the long term.”
Dr Sikua said, in the end, PM Sogavare might argue that Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation and can do whatever it wants.
“But as a responsible global citizen, this is not how you treat your good friend. The courteous and respectable thing PM Sogavare should do first is to inform ROC/Taiwan through their Ambassador in Honiara what his DCC Government wants to do in this regard.
“The Government of the ROC/Taiwan might understand albeit with some reservation but at least some courtesy and respect is being shown towards A True Friend Indeed.”