TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has denied attempting to bribe a member of the Solomon Islands’ parliament earlier this year to retain diplomatic ties with the Pacific archipelago, which switched recognition to China in September.
Solomons Parliamentarian Titus Fika, who presided over a government task force that ruled in favor of the diplomatic switch, has accused Taiwanese envoys of offering him a bribe. “Taiwan wanted to bribe [me],” he told the Guardian and claimed that he had been offered SBD$2 million (US$242,000) in exchange for his support.
In addition, the MP denied that he had accepted a Chinese offer to back the severance of his country’s 36-year ties with Taiwan. The Solomon Islands’ opposition camp is reportedly calling for an investigation into Beijing’s alleged bribery of Solomons leadership, including Prime Minster Manasseh Sogavare, who has rejected the accusation.
“Under no circumstances will Taiwan resort to an ugly dollar diplomacy bidding war with China, much less line the pockets of corrupt politicians,” MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou said in reply to the Guardian’s request for comment.
Ou added that the Taiwanese government expressed regret and condemned a small portion of Solomons politicians who had yielded to China’s enticements and dismissed their constituents’ opposition to terminating the relationship with Taiwan, reported CNA. Taiwan values its relations with allies, and the country has conducted bilateral cooperative projects based on reciprocity, transparency, and the goal of improving the well-being of allied nations’ peoples, the spokesperson said.