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Malaita Premier: why we are against switching ties
10:34 pm GMT+12, 17/09/2019, Solomon Islands

 Malaita Premier Daniel Suidani says there are four reasons why his government is not supporting a switch in diplomatic relationships from Taiwan to China.
 
"First, Solomon Islands is a Christian and democratic nation and it will not sway from its foundation,” the premier told Malaitans who stage a public march in Auki in support for Taiwan.
 
“Secondly, the democratic family has been financing us in the form of development grants; assistance that we are not required to repay, assistance from concerned friends with the heart to help.
 
“Thirdly, it is clear that Mainland China is offering to help our country in the form of bilateral development loans, as it did to our neighbours Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. We are obliged to repay these loans under international law. 
 
"In the case that we fail to repay such debts, China may take over the country for as long as it takes to recover the loans that it gives to us.
 
“The fourth reason is not about funding, so be clear on this.
 
"Leadership is the issue at hand.
 
"Sufficient funding in the form of grants is still available, but since birth of our nation 41 years ago, our leaders have miserably failed to manage these funds in a way that fosters realistic development.
 
"Just imagine if such corrupt practices are allowed to developmental loans, the sure thing that will happen is that our nation will be forced deeper into debt, even to the extent that another nation takes us over for as long as is necessary for it to fully recover its debt."
 
Suidani appeals to the people of Malaita to maintain their Christian and democratic principles and continue supporting democracy as it is the only free avenue for realisation and respect for human dignity and the freedom to survive and thrive without oppression or suppression. 
 
Meanwhile, the Western provincial government (WPG) has welcomed the government’s decision to switch allegiance to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), describing the latest diplomatic change as historic.
 
In a statement issued in Gizo Tuesday, Western Premier David Gina said the switch is a way forward in terms of international trade under this new bilateral relation which is now successful after nearly forty years.
 
He said China should be a good trading partner in terms of raw materials available in Solomon Islands.
 
“Solomon Islands must start to see all sides of the friendship such through trade, culture, tourism, education and technology as well in sports,” he said.
 
He said all these must remain the cornerstone of such friendship like the kind of relations already established with other country.
 
“We have been exporting our round logs to China for many years which has been the country’s economy revenue earner. 
 
“We have been with China for many years and our logs as raw materials go there every now and then," he said. 
 
Premier Gina added that Solomon Islands must therefore stand ready to carry out economic activities with China and that China must be willing to assist the Solomon Islands and make itself as a mature partner when it comes to its economy.
 
“The new diplomatic friendship must be seen in a positive way as it could assist the country’s democratic institution better and stronger.
 
“This is a feature many countries that already have diplomatic ties have benefited from,’’ Premier Gina said.
 
He congratulated the Government of China and also the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement on announcement of  the new Diplomatic Relations with the China.
 
Premier Gina also commended all Western leaders for their very strong stand in advocating the change for almost four decade.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS


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