Country’s first ambassador to China passed away


JOHN Moffat Fugui, the country’s ambassador to China, has died in Beijing yesterday, December 23 just more than a year into his new role.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the news, but has not disclose the cause of death.

Fugui, 61, was the country’s first ambassador to China after Solomon Islands switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan in 2019.

He took up his posting mid last year.

In a condolence notice published in the Island Sun today (see page 8), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described Fugui as an inspirational leader who served his country with dedication and commitment.

“Fugui was instrumental in shaping Solomon Islands foreign policy and placing the country on the right side of history in formalizing diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China,” the notice reads.

“He lived a life of service, advanced and advocated the interests of our country.

“The Ministry and the country will miss the late Ambassador Fugui’s leadership and contribution in strengthening the warm and cordial relations between Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China.”

A spokesman for the ministry told Island Sun last night the ministry is working on arrangements to bring Fugui’s body home, details of which will be released later.

Fugui comes from Fourau village, east Malaita.

His career in national politics began when he was elected to Parliament as the member for Central Honiara in the August 2010 general election.

He was hen appointed Minister for the Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology in Prime Minister Danny Philip‘s Cabinet.

When Gordon Darcy Lilo replaced Philip as Prime Minister in November 2011, Fugui retained his position in government.

Following the 2014 general election, in which he retained his seat, Fugui was elected Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament, on 17 December.

He was re-elected again in the 2019 elections but lost the seat a year later in an election petition case after the High Court found he bribed certain people to vote for him.

Fugui was instrumental in the Sogavare Government’s decision to switch ties from Taiwan to China, which made him the number one choice for the Beijing diplomatic position after he lost his parliamentary seat.

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