Solomon Islands' foreign minister planning to visit Taiwan, says report

The Pacific ally is reportedly considering switching ties to China

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Jeremiah Manele (Right) (Source: CNA/ File photo)

Jeremiah Manele (Right) (Source: CNA/ File photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Solomon Islands’ Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele is reportedly planning to visit Taiwan on Sunday (Sept. 8) amid rumors that the Pacific ally is likely to sever ties with Taiwan in favor of China.

Manele is planning to visit Taiwan on Sunday on a five- to six-day trip, according to a source familiar with the issue, as reported by Central News Agency. If finalized, it should be seen that the relationship between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands remains stable, the source said.

The source added that the Solomon Islands are drawing up large-scale infrastructure projects and therefore seeking assistance from Taiwan and other nations.

Reuters reported on Monday (Sept. 2) that the Pacific archipelago, one of Taiwan’s 17 remaining diplomatic allies, will determine whether to switch diplomatic recognition to China. A group of eight ministers from the Solomon Islands has earlier visited Beijing.

A task force was initiated by the new government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who returned to power in April, to review relations with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has said in recent months in response to rumors about shaky Taiwan-Solomon Islands relations.

Chang Chun-yu (張均宇), a MOFA senior official handling Pacific affairs, said on Tuesday (Sept. 3) that bilateral projects between Taiwan and its south Pacific state have been carried out as planned. He added that he believes the Solomon Islands authorities will come to the conclusion that maintaining ties with Taiwan is in the interest of the Pacific state.

Last month, a total of 16 parliamentarians in the Solomon Islands voiced their support for the country’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan via a joint statement. “We know that the majority of our fellow citizens throughout this country would reject any proposal to switch relations from Taiwan to China,” the statement said.