Taiwan and Solomon Islands seal deal on stadium construction

Agreement said to demonstrate stable relationship between the two countries

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(Screen capture from Youths Online Campaign - For Change Solomon Islands' Facebook page)

(Screen capture from Youths Online Campaign - For Change Solomon Islands' Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has inked an agreement with the Solomon Islands to construct a sports stadium for the Pacific ally, signaling a stabilizing relationship between the two countries.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the National Stadium was signed between Jimmy Rodgers, chairman of the Solomon Islands’ National Hosting Authority (NHA), and Cliff Lin, chairman of Fu Tsu Construction Company, on Tuesday (July 9). A photo published on Facebook by Youths Online Campaign - For Change Solomon Islands showed Solomon Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare shaking hands with representatives from both countries.

The Taiwanese construction company will be responsible for designing and constructing the National Stadium in time for the Pacific Games, which the Solomon Islands will host in 2023, reported the Solomon Times. Scheduled for inauguration by January 2023, the facility will accommodate a maximum audience of 12,000, the report said.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed the news on Wednesday (July 10), indicating that ties between Taiwan and the archipelago remain stable despite recent reports suggesting otherwise.

Since Sogavare returned to power in April, rumors that the Solomon Islands will switch recognition to China have been widespread, with the government of the Pacific island group establishing a task force last month to review its relationship with Taiwan. MOFA has said this was part of the Sogavare government’s initiative to conduct research to support its foreign policy.

Tuesday’s MoU was built on another agreement signed between the two countries in March. According to the previous one, Taiwan would provide the Solomon Islands with loans for building the stadium.