Solomon Islands cherishes tie with Taiwan: PM

President Tsai Ing-wen, left, meets with Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on the final leg of her three-nation tour in the Pacific. Sogavare said bilateral relations have been at their best ever, as evidenced by the inking of several memorandums of understanding, including the one just concluded on police cooperation. (CNA)

HONIARA, The Solomon Islands, Nov. 2 (CNA) – Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Thursday that his country will continue to cherish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, as Taiwan has been a very good friend when it has needed help.

Hailing Tsai’s visit as a milestone in Taiwan-Solomon Islands ties, Sogavare said bilateral relations have been at their best ever, as evidenced by the inking of several memorandums of understanding (MOU), including the one just concluded on police cooperation.

Sogavare made the remarks after jointly witnessing the signing of the MOU with Republic of China (Taiwan) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is visiting the island nation on the final leg of her three-nation tour in the Pacific.

Taiwan has always been a very good friend of the Solomon Islands, particularly when this country has needed help, Sogavare said, stressing that the Solomon Islands will continue to treasure diplomatic links with Taiwan as part of its pursuit of prosperity and rule of law.

For her part, Tsai also called the Solomon Islands a good friend of Taiwan and thanked the country for its support in the international arena.

In conjunction with the UN goal of sustainable development, Taiwan is willing to help the Solomon Islands achieve clean energy through two-way cooperation, she said, noting that the MOU on police cooperation will also contribute to regional peace and prosperity.

Earlier in the day, President Tsai’s speech to the Solomon Islands’ parliament was attended by 80 percent of lawmakers including former Vice Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, who recently resigned and supports a no-confidence vote in parliament against Sogavare which is set to take place when parliament returns from recess on Nov. 6.

Asked by Taiwanese reporters if this would impact diplomatic ties, Maelanga ruled out such a possibility and gave assurances that the Solomon Islands will prioritize its relationship with Taiwan no matter which government is in power.

During her speech, Tsai emphasized that the two countries share in common a 34-year diplomatic partnership and Austronesian culture. She also envisioned continued cooperation in the areas of medical care, agriculture, environment protection and sustainable development.

As a constructive member of the Pacific region, Taiwan is poised to do its share and embraces the goal of “making a better world,” Tsai said, calling for a closer partnership between the two countries as both face the huge challenges posed by climate change and sustainable growth.

By Flor Wang and Lu Hsin-hui