Pledges by China often benefit interests of only few: MOFA

MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (Source: CNA/ File photo)

MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou (Source: CNA/ File photo)

China likes to brag about its lavish financial pledges and flashy infrastructure aid, but often they end up benefiting the personal gains of only a few unscrupulous politicians, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) warned Friday.

The ministry's comments came after recent foreign media reports that a delegation of officials from the Solomon Islands visited China in August and met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅), during which the two sides struck a deal to establish bilateral ties before Oct. 1 in exchange for US$500 million in financial assistance from Beijing.

According to the reports, Beijing also pledged to send agricultural and medical teams to the Solomon Islands, similar to the assistance currently provided by Taiwan.

MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told CNA that the ministry has been cautioning its allies not to be lured by China's multi-billion dollar pledges that will either remain unfulfilled or lead the recipient countries into debt traps.

On Friday, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare called a meeting to discuss a report submitted by a bipartisan task force that recommended that the nation should cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

According to the report, a copy of which was obtained by CNA, the task force recommends that the Solomon Islands government switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China by mid-September, before Beijing celebrates China's Oct. 1 70th National Day.

Taiwan's foreign ministry, however, described the report as totally biased and distorted, noting that the task force did not even visit Taiwan on a fact-finding mission.

The Solomon Islands, one of Taiwan's 17 diplomatic allies, has been reviewing bilateral ties since its new government took office in April.

Ou said that although some officials from the Solomon Islands did visit Taiwan in August, they were not members of a fact-finding mission, but rather part of a parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Patteson Oti, who came to Taipei to attend the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union (APPU) annual gathering in Taipei.

There were no discussions with the Taiwanese government during the visit, she explained.

Furthermore, a statement in the report that MOFA officials informed the Solomon Islands that Taiwan would not conduct any special assistance programs for the Pacific island nation is simply a lie, according to the foreign ministry.

The fact-finding report has no credibility, as the task force members failed to conduct any proper fact-finding, she added.
The Solomon Islands said Friday that it hopes to make a decision by Sept. 21 on whether to switch recognition to China and cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.