U.S. Vice President to discuss Taiwan ties with Solomon Islands leader

Sogavare trying to push through switch by late September: reports

US Vice President Mike Pence.

US Vice President Mike Pence. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the government of the Solomon Islands was meeting Friday (September 13) to discuss whether or not to switch ties from Taiwan to China, the subject was likely to come up at a meeting between United States Vice President Mike Pence and the islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare at the United Nations General Assembly, according to media reports.

The U.S. and Australia have reportedly been concerned about China expanding its influence in the Pacific area by trying to poach away several nations still recognizing Taiwan.

The Solomon Islands were though to be planning to switch to Beijing by September 21, in time for the People’s Republic of China’s 70th anniversary on October 1, the Central News Agency reported.

U.S. Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray recently traveled to the islands’ capital, Honiara, to discuss the issue with Sogavare, who reportedly described Taiwan as a “completely useless” ally.

Pence was planning to hold a bilateral meeting with him in the margin of the UN General Assembly, at which the issue of Taiwan links would come up, the United Daily News reported Friday.

However, if Sogavare pushed the switch through earlier, the U.S. vice president would only be able to voice Washington’s opinions on the issue, but it would be too late to turn the situation around in Taiwan’s favor, according to the United Daily News.