Taiwan invites Solomon Islands leadership to visit

Rumors have been circulating the Solomon Islands will cut ties with Taiwan, though MOFA denies this

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Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has boarded Taiwan’s Fleet of Friendship recently (Screen capture from Wang Ting-yu's Facebook

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare has boarded Taiwan’s Fleet of Friendship recently (Screen capture from Wang Ting-yu's Facebook

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Thursday (June 6) the government has invited the leadership of the Solomon Islands to visit Taiwan after the Pacific Islands state held a general election in April.

Since the election and Manasseh Sogavare, after being ousted in 2017, was returned to power for the fourth time, there have been widespread rumors the new government may cut ties with Taiwan.

To quash these rumors, Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), a legislator from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said in a Facebook post published on Thursday the foreign minister of the South Pacific ally, Jeremiah Manele, plans to visit Taiwan.

However, MOFA later responded that it will make an announcement at an appropriate time if there were further developments. The government had extended an invitation to the leadership of the Solomon Islands to visit Taiwan after Sogavare took office, MOFA confirmed.

According to Wang, Matt Pottinger, a member of the U.S. National Security Council, had visited the Solomon Islands to discuss issues with government leaders, and a Taiwan deputy foreign minister also attended the meeting.

Wang, who is a member of the Legislative Yuan Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, did not provide further information in his post.

On Wednesday (June 5), Manele said the Solomon Islands will determine whether to switch recognition from Taiwan to China within 100 days, reported Radio New Zealand.

Asked to comment on the rumors that have been circulating for the past few months, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), who attended the renaming ceremony of the Taiwan Council for U.S. Affairs, once again denied the country’s ties with the Solomon Islands are at risk.

A majority in the Solomon Islands’ new parliament is supportive of Taiwan, said MOFA in a statement issued on Wednesday evening. The Pacific ally is a parliamentary democracy.

Taiwan-Solomon Islands relations have shown stable growth, said MOFA. It added that Sogavare had boarded Taiwan’s Fleet of Friendship recently. The fleet is part of Taiwan’s navy and routinely sails on goodwill missions to allies in order to strengthen ties.