Taiwan-Solomon Islands ties not affected by ouster

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 3

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s imminent departure after losing a vote of confidence in his nation’s parliament would not affect Honiara’s ties with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told a routine news conference neither the result of the no-confidence vote nor the composition of the Solomon Islands’ new government would affect the two nations’ 34-year friendship.

The government has maintained close tabs on the developments in the Solomon Islands and would continue to strengthen contacts with the Pacific island nation’s major politicians and parliamentarians, he said.

Sogavare lost Monday’s vote of confidence 27 to 23 after a six-hour debate, and a new prime minister is expected to be elected later this month.

Monday’s vote cast a shadow over President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) just-concluded state visit to three Pacific island allies that took her to the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands from Oct. 28 to Saturday last week.

Lee said both Sogavare and Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, who initiated the vote of no confidence, had personally told Tsai and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維) that they supported close relations between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands.

Another sign of the strong bipartisan support for relations with Taiwan was that 42 out of 50 Solomon Islands lawmakers attended a speech given by Tsai on Thursday last week, Lee said.