By Mike Puia
CHINA remains this country’s key trading partner even though they don’t have diplomatic ties.
The issue of trade came out at the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) hearing that started at the National Parliament on Wednesday.
The FRC hearing yesterday will end today. FRC is examining and will make recommendations on the issue of severing ties with Taiwan.
The committee will also examine, make observations and recommendations on the government’s general conduct of its foreign policy.
The bipartisan taskforce set up by the government to look into the pros and cons of a switch in relations to China was the first group to appear before the FRC.
Chairman of the bipartisan taskforce, Mr John Moffat Fugui, revealed that it was interesting to learn that China poured in over US$630million to the country for raw resources each year.
Team leader of a government delegation that visited Beijing, Peter Shanel Agovaka, said for over 35 years Solomon Islands had a cordial relationship with Taiwan.
But, Agovaka said this is the time for Solomon Islands to make new friends.
He said China is a new power and this country needs to embrace and engage with it.
Agovaka said China’s economy has risen over the last 30 years making the country second to USA in terms of economic strength.
He said a relationship with China will make Solomon Islands relevant to China and the rest of the world.
Agovaka said there is no harm for this country to take time in its decision to forge diplomatic tie with China but the quicker this happens the better.
He said China needs this country to feed its appetite for raw materials.
The former foreign minister said China has a population of over 1.4 billion people and raw materials are important to these people.
He said most of the country’s raw materials like logs, fish, minerals, are exported to China.
Agovaka said this country need to tighten management of its resources in a sustainable manner while waiting on the government’s decision.
He revealed China has indicated its interest in tourism, infrastructure and so forth.
Agovaka said China can offer an opportunity for this country to fill gaps that exist in sectors of the country.