DEPUTY Opposition Leader and Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee (FRC), Peter Kenilorea Jnr says the Prime Minister has totally misrepresented his statement on the determination of the China-Taiwan issue.
The FRC Chair and also East Are’Are MP, said this in response to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare who ignorantly misrepresented what he (Kenilorea Jnr) had put out regarding the issue, and suggested it to be on who has the power and mandate to sever diplomatic relations.
Kenilorea Jnr pointed out that “the statement by the Prime Minister is a total misrepresentation of what I, as Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Foreign Relations Committee (FRC), have publicly stated on this issue”.
He noted that the attempt to tarnish his credentials on international matters and understanding of our government processes by the Prime Minister is an attempt in cheap politics that may work on some.
“But it will not work on me. Such condescending approaches are outdated,” Kenilorea Jnr said.
The FRC Chairman stresses, “For the record, I am well aware of the role of the Foreign Relations Committee and that besides, examining and observing, we can only recommend to Parliament.
“The FRC intends to do exactly that in our report to Parliament following the inquiry for the Parliament’s deliberation.
“Following such deliberations, what happens thereon to the report is in the hands of parliament and the executive branch of government. The FRC will not usurp the powers and functions of other arms of government.
“In this particular issue, my Committee has agreed to make an inquiry into the question of ‘severing of existing ties’ with a traditional partner.
“Solomon Islands had a choice to make following independence on the One China Principle and our founding fathers decided to recognise Republic of China (Taiwan).
“Careful considering on severing this tie will need to be undertaken. This is exactly what the FRC hopes to achieve.”
He then pointed out that their terms of reference (TORs) are clear in the standing orders, and those covering the inquiry are being published in papers and online.
“I am sure the various task forces being set up by the executive also have their own TORs.
“We have invited the Chair of the bi-Partisan taskforce, the team leader of the ministerial group, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, other government ministries and authorities to appear before the FRC and air their views.
“We have also invited other interested stakeholders to the hearings from the civil society groups, as well as SICA and SI Chamber of Commerce.”
Kenilorea Jnr shares that as chair of the FRC, he is pleased the role of the committee is attracting so much attention from the Prime Minister and media.
“A positive aspect of this attention is that the public is now more aware of the FRC, one of the 10 standing committees of Parliament,” the FRC Chair said.