The Solomon Islands, one of Taiwan’s remaining allies in the Pacific, is sending a delegation this week to study Chinese aid in neighboring countries as it considers a diplomatic switch to Beijing, lawmaker John Moffat Fugui said on Monday.
The Solomons has recognized Taiwan since 1983 and would be a prized chip should it swap diplomatic ties as China seeks to expand its influence and presence in the Pacific.
A task force set up by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to review relations with Taiwan would visit the island nations of Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, which all have formal ties with China.
The tour would include Taipei and Beijing, Fugui, who is chairman of the task force and is to lead the delegation, told reporters.
“We will use their countries as case studies to see the kind of development relations they have, the kind of assistance they get, the conditionalities or lack of conditionalities they might have, the kind of governance,” Fugui said by telephone from the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.
“We will do due diligence,” he said, adding that the task force report was expected by the end of August and could recommend a middle course.
“It’s not either or, it’s also both,” he said, without elaborating on such a scenario.
The Solomon Islands is among 17 nations to recognize Taiwan.
Although the relationship with Taiwan comes with generous aid payments, the Solomons send two-thirds of its exports to China and is weighing the merits of a change.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) yesterday said that all bilateral projects are running “very smoothly” and communications channels with Honiara are also “very smooth.”
“We have shown our sincerity to continue bilateral projects to the new government,” Lee said. “We continue to demonstrate our will to deepen diplomatic ties.”
While the antiparasitic drug ivermectin is being touted as a treatment for COVID-19 in many parts of the world, Taiwanese experts on Monday warned against regular use of the drug in COVID-19 treatment, citing a lack of solid evidence. “Following an experts’ meeting, we do not recommend regular use of ivermectin in treating COVID-19 due to the lack of enough evidence,” said Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) expert advisory panel. A report in the American Journal of Therapeutics said that meta-analyses based on 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 patients had found large,
CLASSES HALTED: Cram schools have had to return tuition fees due to mandatory closures and might need to lay off half of their staff because of a lack of revenue The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the education sector, with some cram schools and tutoring centers saying they might soon be unable to pay their instructors due to the extension of a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. The heightened alert level means schools must remain closed, so cram schools and tutoring centers have had to return tuition fees, one cram school said. June is normally the peak season for recruiting new students at cram schools and tutoring centers, but this year many such schools might need to lay off half of their staff due to a lack of
‘LOW PROBABILITY’: China still ‘has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability’ to seize Taiwan militarily, US General Mark Milley said The US’ top general on Thursday downplayed concern that China would attempt a military takeover of Taiwan in the near term, saying Beijing does not have the capability to do so. While there has been rising concern in Taiwan and among US lawmakers about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, such as flying jets in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), US military officials said that such moves are not overly concerning. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a core national interest of China, “there’s little intent right now, or motivation,
The Canadian House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed the first reading of a proposal to create a legal framework for efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan. The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act was introduced by Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Cooper, who said that not having a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan has complicated interactions between the two nations. Taiwan is one of Canada’s largest trading partners, and the two share strong people-to-people links and common values, he said. Taiwan “is a vibrant economy and one of the world’s top 20 economies. It is time Canada’s relations with Taiwan reflect