Government to assess China-Taiwan issue before deciding which to marry

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
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Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

THE Democratic Coalition for Government Advancement (DCGA) will carry out a thorough assessment on the question of shifting from Taiwan to mainland China in its foreign policy.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmed this during a press conference with media in Honiara yesterday after recent commentaries that some factions within the government demanded Sogavare to shift diplomatic ties to China or face a motion of no confidence in six months.

They wanted the government to sign up with Beijing’s multi-billion Belt and Road Initiative in order to build infrastructures on Guadalcanal and Malaita to address the high unemployment of their youths.

Sogavare has denied any rift within the government and claimed they are rock solid as ever.

However, he said the government will need to look at the pros and cons of the Taiwan/China issue before making any final decision.

“We have to consider the big players like Australia because it works closely with United States of America that are concern about the security in the Pacific.

“We are small player in this situation, therefore, we need to analyse the pros and cons of it before making the decision,” he said.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Sogavare had a long discussion on the Taiwan/China issue during their bilateral meeting in Honiara on Monday.

Sogavare said Morrison had made it clear to him that Australia only wants to see a stable, peaceful and independent Solomon Islands.

“He (Morrison) was also grateful that Australia made it clear that any decisions they make regarding their foreign policy is an independent and sovereign decision, which only we can decide on, noting that such relationships should not undermine our country’s independence and sovereignty,” Sogavare.

Sogavare said the Australia government had spent about $2.3 billion towards the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to restore law and order.

Morrison on Monday announced a $1.5 billion grant for infrastructure projects across the country for the next 10 years.

Sogavare said there were questions in the past that most of the aid money did not spent in Solomon Islands but through technical advisors.

However, he said Australia is also concern about their money and has a system to manage their funds.

“I think the end product of the aid is what we should interest in.

“At least the Australia government is willing to help us fund some of the infrastructures projects in the country,” he said.