Taiwan yesterday warned the Solomon Islands that switching diplomatic ties to China has left other Pacific nations in a “debt trap.”
“China’s expansion in the Pacific has made many countries to fall into the trap of debt,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. “The flashy infrastructure that China promised has caused serious damage to the local ecosystem and infringed their sovereignty.”
The Solomons are among only 17 nations to recognize Taiwan, but Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare vowed to review the relationship after he was elected in April.
Solomon Islands government frontbencher Peter Shanel Agovaka, who led a recent ministerial delegation to Beijing to discuss a switch, told a parliamentary committee this week that his preference was to recognize China.
“We cannot sit for the next 40 years with our friends Taiwan, it is time that we make new friends,” he said, adding that links with China would help boost the Pacific nation’s economy.
Beijing is offering to bankroll a development fund to replace an annual US$8.5 million fund backed by Taiwan, he said.
A switch, which still needs to be formalized, would be a prize for China in its campaign to secure allies from Taiwan.
It would also deal a fresh blow to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is seeking re-election in January next year amid criticism over her handling of Beijing.
Five diplomatic allies have switched ties to Beijing since she came to office in 2016.
The South Pacific has been a diplomatic stronghold for Taiwan, where formal ties with six of the 16 island nations make up more than one-third of its total alliances.
The Solomons have recognized Taiwan since 1983 and is the largest of the Taiwan-aligned Pacific countries, with access to the airfields and deep-water ports dating back to World War II.
Taiwan said it believed ties with the Solomons were stable.
“Representatives from the civil society mostly support maintaining the official relations with Taiwan and are doubtful toward the so-called ‘switching of ties,’” Ou said. “We believe the Solomons government and people are alerted by China’s usual deceptive tricks, overbearing behaviors and untrustworthiness in the international society.”
The Solomon Islands yesterday said that no decision had yet been made on switching the nation’s diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.
The Solomon Islands’ foreign affairs department said that no decision had been made and the issue would not be finalized until the Cabinet had reviewed a task force report.
“As far as can be determined, the Office of Prime Minister has not announced when it is likely to make a decision on whether or not the government agrees to switch diplomatic ties to China or remain with Taiwan,” the department said in a statement issued to media in Taiwan yesterday.
The Solomons parliament’s foreign relations committee is accepting submissions on the Taiwan-China issue until the end of this month and has an Oct. 31 deadline to report to the legislature.
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
The National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei is to open to the public today. The park in Datong District (大同) near the North Gate (北門, Beimen) is one of the museum’s four branches. During the Japanese colonial era, the site housed the railway department of the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan’s Bureau of Transportation. After World War II, it served as the headquarters for the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) for several decades. In 2007, it was listed as a national monument under the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法). At an opening ceremony yesterday, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung