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Chinese Foreign minister coming for first ever visit

By EDDIE OSIFELO

A LARGE Chinese delegation led by its Foreign Affairs minister Wang Yi will arrive in Honiara on Thursday in his first ever visit here.

Political sources confirmed it is a reciprocated trip after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeremiah Manele travelled to Beijing following the diplomatic switch in 2019.

Solomon Islands switched diplomatic from Taiwan to China after more than 30 years of friendship with the intention to accelerate trade, economic advancement and establish infrastructure projects for the Pacific Games in 2023.

Sources within the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet say a taskforce is preparing for Wang’s visit.

They say the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is working on the programme before making it public.

The Chinese Embassy in Honiara has not replied to emails sent by Island Sun this week on Wang’s visit.

In Honiara, Wang will meet his counterpart Manele, as well as PM Sogavare and members of the Cabinet.

Manele and his Permanent Secretary Colin Beck should graduate from quarantine yesterday following their trip to Fiji and Australia the week before, where they travelled to explain the controversial security agreement Honiara signed with Beijing.

One government source told the Australia Broadcasting Corporation last week that while here, Wang would likely sign a host of agreements with Manele.

ABC said it is also possible the minister will formally sign the deeply contentious security pact that has already been agreed to by both Solomon Islands and China.

The news of his visit comes in the wake of a regional meeting on the China-Solomon Islands agreement, which was held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Fiji’s capital Suva last Tuesday.

Manele and Police Minister Veke briefed several senior officials and a small number of politicians from Pacific Island countries about the agreement in an effort to calm regional anxieties about its implications.


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