SI Looks Forward To Welcome President Tsai: PM Tells ROC Foreign Minister

Prime Minister Sogavare proposing a toast to the Solomon Islands-Taiwan Friendship.

The Solomon Islands Government welcomes the announcement by the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) of the upcoming visit of the Taiwanese President Dr Tsai Ing-wen to the Pacific, including Solomon Islands.

Speaking at a function hosted by the Taiwanese Embassy for the visiting Taiwanese Foreign Minister at the Kitano Mendana Hotel last night, Prime Minister Sogavare said, I would like to express the Solomon Islands Government’s gratitude at your government’s recent announcement that the President would be making a visit to the Pacific region in the coming months.

The Prime Minister described the visit as timely as Taiwan and its Pacific Allies seek more consolidation and Solomon Islands looks forward to receiving Her Excellency.

He said there is no illusion about the ‘deep’ relations between Solomon Islands and Taiwan, despite the changes in the geo-political landscape at present, especially in the Pacific.

Whilst the Prime Minister acknowledged that these changes have proven the ability of Solomon Islands and Taiwan to stick together, he said they ought to be smarter in mastering these situational realities.

Prime Minister Sogavare said Solomon Islands and Taiwan have grown together with humility, respect and willingness to sacrifice for certain values associated with democracy and human rights.

Above: The Taiwanese Foreign Minister, Dr David Lee, centre, and wife Chin Lin with the Taiwanese Ambassador, His Exellency Roger Luo. Below: He is flanked by Prime Minister Sogavare and his local counterpart, Hon Milner Tozaka.

He added that whilst others in the neighbourhood have swayed, Solomon Islands has always remained consistent on these values and consistence is the essence of foreign policy.

The Prime Minister said this is the reason why he has been speaking the political discourse of human rights at the MSG (Melanesian Spearhead Group), PIF (Pacific Islands Forum) and UN (United Nations) levels.

He said that where he had been unable to go around these bodies, the great Roman warrior Hannibal experience had taught him to go through and he had done exactly that.

The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to once again express the gratitude of the Solomon Islands Government for Taiwan’s direct support towards rural development and livelihood programmes.

He said these assistances touch the lives of Solomon Islanders and their wellbeing right down to the villages.

The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands is a community of villages and therefore any development strategies that directly target the rural populace is the correct approach to addressing rural development.

He acknowledged that the Taiwanese Foreign Minister was taken on a visit to some of the projects funded by Taipei in Honiara by his local counterpart Hon Milner Tozaka since his arrival in the capital on Tuesday.

He said those projects are reflective of Taiwan’s commitment to the development aspirations of Solomon Islands and he could have seen many more if he had the time to go out of Honiara.

The Taiwanese Foreign Minister and his seven member delegation, including his wife Chin Lin will leave the country today.