Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has hailed the visit by the Republic of China’s (Taiwan’s) Naval Squadron to Solomon Islands, saying it underscores the goodwill and friendship of Taiwan to Solomon Islands.

The squadron consists of three vessels, PAN-SHI (AOE532) – the flagship, SI-NING (PFG-1203) and CHANG-CHIEN (PFG-1109) with 742 naval officers, sailors and midshipmen aboard. This is the 14th visit of its kind since 1984 when Solomon Islands and Taiwan established diplomatic ties.

The Prime Minister made the remarks last night at a cocktail reception aboard PAN-SHI at the Honiara Port. The reception was co-hosted by the navy squadron commander Rear Admiral Cheng-Kuo Chiang and the Taiwanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Roger Luo in appreciation of the invitation by the Solomon Islands Government for the naval squadron to visit and also to celebrate the robust Taiwan-Solomon Islands relationship.

“The visit by the naval squadron highlights the goodwill and friendship of the Taiwanese people towards us.”

He said the SI-Taiwan friendship established more than three decades ago is premised on values and principles which the two countries firmly believe in and share.

“These are values and principles that are enshrined in the United Nations Charters and Conventions,” the Prime Minister emphasised.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the visit by the naval squadron also bridges the cultural and geographical gaps by promoting better understanding between Taiwanese and Solomon Islanders.

He said it also demonstrates the two countries’ ongoing commitment to the universal values of justice, peace and respect for the common good of humanity.

Furthermore, he said the naval squadron visit is a reminder of the special relationship between the two countries which remained unmovable ‘through thick and thin.’

Elaborating on this special relationship, the Prime Minister said, “The People and Government of the Republic of China were the early players in the stabilisation and restoration of peace in Solomon Islands in Year 2000.