TAIWAN ENVOY LEAVES
By IAN M.KAUKUI
TAIWANESE ambassador Oliver Liao flew out of the country on Tuesday less than 24 hours after the Government made the decision to cut off diplomatic ties with his country.
Liao left with his visiting deputy Foreign Affairs minister Dr Sze-chien Hsu, who flew in on Monday in a last-ditch effort to save the 36-year-old relationship.
Taiwan declared the severing of its ties with Solomon Islands after learning of the cabinet decision on Monday night, and closed down its embassy yesterday. .
On Tuesday morning, Liao participated in a symbolic and moving ceremony outside their embassy at Panatina Plaza when they lowered the Taiwanese flag for the last time and packed it away.
Friends, supporters and those previously studied in Taiwan witnessed the highly emotional event.
“It’s a sad day for the Taiwan Embassy and its supporters in Solomon Islands after the Government made its decision to severe our ties,” Liao told the crowd.
“It’s a sad day for all of us as we lower this flag that has been flying here for the last 36 years,” he added.
“As the head of the Taiwan Embassy, I just want to thank you for your strong support and friendship, though your government made the decision not in our favour.”
Liao said he still believed Taiwan has made a lot of friendship in Solomon Islands and is aware that more than 80 percent of this country have supported them but only to be denied by the Government.
“We also aware that it was difficult for many of your government members trying to stand up very bravely to support our friendship and relationship just by the way the vote is conducted.
“But anyway, our friendship continues especially with the Civil Society organisations and other supporters as we continue to regard you as really good friends for the past years and especially for my 10 years serving in this embassy.
:I was also deeply touched by your support and friendship and we really love you and hopefully in the future, our past may cross over with each other and we wish you all the best in your endeavour,” he said.
Taiwan embassy’s Third Secretary David Chia-wei Li also spoke at the event.
“It’s really a sad day where after almost 40 years of friendship, it has now come to an end,” Li said.
He added d with that outcome of the decision by the government, they have nothing else to say or do but to leave peacefully.
At the Airport around midday the visiting Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs with his delegation including Ambassador Liao flew out on board Air Nauru.
Again, friends and supporters poured in to say their final farewell.