Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare and the visiting Foreign Minister of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Dr David Lee today expressed commitment to further enhance the bilateral relations between their two countries.
Dr Lee and his delegation of seven members, including his wife Chin Lin and the Director General of the Asian Department of the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Wen-Yi Chen are on a four day visit in Honiara. The visit is aimed at enhancing the Solomon Islands-Taiwan relationship.
In a courtesy meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office this morning, Prime Minister Sogavare and Dr Lee acknowledged the growing bilateral relationship between their two countries and articulated their governments’ commitment to taking this relationship to new heights.
The Prime Minister in his remarks lauded Taiwan as a true friend for standing by Solomon Islands during its dark years of ethnic crisis and its ongoing assistance towards Solomon Islands development aspirations.
He emphasised the present Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s commitment to continue working with Taipei to bolster the relationship between the two countries by enhancing existing co-operations and exploring new areas for collaboration.
He stated that Taiwan’s budgetary support to the Solomon Islands Government covers almost every sector and moreover reaches right down to the rural areas where the majority of Solomon Islands population live.
The Prime Minister lauded the focus of Taiwan’s assistance to Solomon Islands as reflective of Taipei’s commitment to empower Solomon Islanders to actively participate in development.
He acknowledged the Open Skies Agreement Solomon Islands recently signed with Taiwan and flagged the tourism sector as another potential area for collaboration. The Open Skies Agreement allows the two countries to each designate one or more airlines to operate direct services between them.
Prime Minister Sogavare also took the opportunity to reiterate Solomon Islands ongoing support for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations and assured that he will speak once again in support of the bid at the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Dr Lee in turn acknowledged the kind remarks uttered about Taiwan’s assistance to Solomon Islands by the Prime Minister.
He applauded the Prime Minister as a person of integrity and with a heart to build a prosperous future for Solomon Islands.
The Taiwanese Foreign Minister expressed that Taiwan is eyeing more areas of collaboration with Solomon Islands in the near future, including the National Stadium Project for the 2023 Pacific Games.
He further stated that the Assessment Report on the identified stadium site is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks and further discussions on the project will follow on from there.
Dr Lee assured the Prime Minister that Taiwan will look into investing in Solomon Islands tourism sector, adding that Solomon Islands is a country with a lot of tourist attractions, including WWII remains.
The Taiwanese Foreign Minister and his delegation will leave on Friday 23rd June.