TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has expressed regret over Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s accusations that “Taiwan agents” were behind the violent protests that erupted in late November.
Sogavare, who remains in office after a failed no-confidence vote on Monday (Dec. 6), said Taiwanese agents had planned the anti-government demonstrations in order to protect Taiwan.
MOFA condemned Sogavere’s “irresponsible” comments and said he was blaming Taiwan for his own ineffective governance and ensuing public dissatisfaction. The ministry also called on the Solomon Islands Government to listen to the voices of its people and not be influenced by China’s “dictatorial and autocratic model.”
MOFA said it hopes the South Pacific nation will not abandon its democratic system and tradition of solidarity in the region.
Protests erupted on Nov. 24 due to dissatisfaction over domestic development priorities and the country’s decision to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China. Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the national Parliament building on Wednesday morning, demanding Sogavare step down.
As a result of the escalating situation, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare requested help from Australia, which agreed to send approximately 120 soldiers and police officers to maintain peace.