A timely notice of Taiwan’s development assistance to SI

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DEAR EDITOR, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, the Hon Rick Hou, last week spoke during a business workshop in Honiara about Taiwan’s development assistance to his country.

The PM was quoted by the Solomon Star newspaper has having said.

“Much innovation has been established in the agriculture sector, including fruit trees, vegetables, crops, poultry, pig-farming and the introduction of green energy to rural villages.

“Taiwan’s assistance programs in strengthening the delivery capacity in our health and medical services and tertiary education; cooperation in meteorology data system management, climate change and disaster prediction systems installation and training, continue to be implemented,” he said.

“Their impacts are felt throughout many rural communities, villages, households and even within the wider government circles,” he said.

Mr Hou said since Solomon Islands gain independence, the two country’s ongoing diplomatic ties continue to strengthen their partnership.

Taiwan has often been criticised for having put money, annually into the Solomon Islands political elite by contributing “constituency development funds,” better understood to be discretionary funds made available to the Members of Parliament to use in funding projects and infrastructure in their own constituencies.

Often the arguments are raised that such funds have done little, or anything to aid the constituencies with few tangible results.

Putting the focus on what Taiwan has done by way of direct assistance programs, as the Prime Minister highlighted, was a good way of demonstrating the real development work done by Taiwan’s assistance since Solomon Islands gained independence.

It was also, in my view, a timely notice because it can be expected that with visit to Port Moresby for the APEC meeting of President Xi Jinping of China, the Chinese leader might very well take the opportunity of saying what China could do to aid struggling small nation states like the Solomon Islands and claim they are missing out.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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