With an eye on national sovereignty

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DEAR EDITOR, last week there was local news that the giant Chinese IT company, “Huawei,” had donated 927 sets of tablets to Solomon Island students following a request from the Treasurer of the Solomon Islands-China Friendship Association (SICFA), Diana Yates, who has apparently requested the IT Company to donate up to 300 tablets for students being aided by SICFA.

The generous donation obviously gives a PR boost to China and it is claimed in a recent article by Wei Jia writing in China.org.cn, that perceptions of china are growing more positive.

The article went on to say (quote)

“In the 22-country survey conducted by the Center for International Communication Studies under the China International Publishing Group, China scored 6.22 out of 10 on its overall image, maintaining a slight upward curve in recent years.

“The Chinese survey, which includes the U.S., shares a similar finding as the Gallup survey— people aged 18 to 35 have the best impression of China.

“Besides the country’s economy, of which 33 percent of the survey’s 11,000 respondents believe will become the world’s largest, China’s global influence is also widely recognized.”

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The Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has no official diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands and, although the PRC is officially recognized by Australia and remains its largest trading partner, according to an article in the ‘Diplomat’ last week, written by Merriden Varrall, the “bilateral relationship is at a low point.”

Ms. Varrall went on to say, “Over the past year there has been heated discussion within Australian media and political circles about Chinese influence in the country, and its role in the world more broadly. Australian politicians have been public in their critique of China as a threat.”

“China has reacted strongly, both at the official and unofficial levels. Much Chinese media has been scathing in its coverage of Australia.”

The Solomon Islands must be cautious not to fall victim to any offers of monetary help, or in kind, from any source that could prejudice it national sovereignty, independence and values that are based on human rights and the rule of law.

Yours sincerely

FRANK SHORT

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