By EDDIE OSIFELO
SOLOMON Islanders will not be needing visas to travel to the Republic of China.
China and Solomon Islands will be signing the visa waiver arrangement this month in Tuvalu along the margins of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele confirmed this during his contribution last Wednesday on the debate on the Speech from the throne delivered by the Governor General last Monday.
Manele said it is their hope they will also exchange notes with Japan in early September.
Further to that, Manele said the Indian High Commissioner in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is awaiting instructions to proceed and sign the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
He said there are taking the first step to have the arrangement for official and diplomatic passport holders with the view of extending that to ordinary passport holders.
Furthermore, Manele said his Ministry and the wider government system have had consultations with the Peace Corps scoping team who are currently in the country since July 19.
“Aim positive that the assessment undertaken by the Peace Corp team will see the return of Peace Corp back into the country.
“Since 1971 to 2000, some 744 Peace Corp have served in Solomon Islands,” he said.
On the other hand, 450 volunteers of the Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteer have served in Solomon Islands since 1979.
In the meantime, Solomon Islands was identified as a country candidate under the Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) Threshold programme.
Manele said they are expecting to receive the MCC delegation again in three weeks’ time.
“It is our hope that the United States will support Solomon Islands national priorities not only through the Threshold Programme but hopefully as well as through its Compact funding,” he said.