TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the Solomon Islands considers switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, the United States ambassador in the Pacific archipelago, Catherine Ebert-Gray, recommended Taipei to its premier, the Central News Agency reported Wednesday (September 11).
Politicians in the Solomon Islands have been making varying noises about the advantages of Taiwan or China, while Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele visited Taipei.
Ebert-Gray flew from her usual base in Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands, where she met Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare Tuesday (September 10), according to an exclusive report by CNA.
She reportedly described Taiwan as the islands’ “exceptional partner” and pointed out the challenges to diplomatic relations between the Solomon Islands and Beijing, CNA reported.
The U.S. and Australia, among others, have been concerned about China expanding its influence over small and impoverished Pacific island nations, in addition to Beijing’s aggressive stance over disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
Washington and Taipei meanwhile shared a similar aim, helping the Solomon Islands improve its good governance, Ebert-Gray told CNA.
Sogavare reportedly planned to travel to the U.S. to attend the United Nations General Assembly, while he would also meet Vice President Mike Pence.