Solomon Islands and Taiwan Sign Visa Exemption Agreement
Quoting the Solomon Times on Line ï¿½ 20 August 2019
ï¿½Taiwan and its Pacific ally, the Solomon Islands, have reached a visa-exemption deal in Tuvalu, where the annual Pacific Islands Forum wrapped up on Friday (Aug. 16).
ï¿½Foreign Minister Joseph Wu who is visiting Tuvalu from Aug. 15-17 signed the agreement with his Solomon Islands counterpart Jeremiah Manele, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) statement. The signing process was overseen by Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare.
ï¿½The agreement allows citizens of Taiwan and the Solomon Islands to travel for 90 days without a visa in each otherï¿½s country. However, the effective date of the visa-free treatment will be determined later, following internal administrative procedures, said the ministry.
ï¿½The reciprocal treatment is expected to benefit business and tourism in both countries, and increase people-to-people exchanges, said the ministry. The Solomon Islands became the fifth ally in the Pacific to have sealed the deal with Taiwan, following Nauru, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, and Palau.ï¿½
ï¿½It is part of President Tsai Ing-wenï¿½s promise made during her South Pacific tour in 2017. While addressing the parliament of the Marshall Islands, Tsai announced her government would grant visa exemptions to all six of Taiwanï¿½s allies in the Pacific.
ï¿½According to the ministry, Wu had a meeting with Sogavare and leaders of other Pacific partners early Friday morning. Sogavare, who returned to power in April owing to a general election, expressed his gratitude to the Taiwan government for its assistance in a wide array of areas over the years.
ï¿½Sogavare added he looks forward to working with Taiwan and other Pacific partners to improve the countryï¿½s transport system, as well as on projects helping the government and people of the Pacific island group.
ï¿½A Pacific Islands Forum ï¿½development partnerï¿½ since 1993, Taiwan has taken part in related conferences and events to contribute to sustainable development in the Pacific region, said the ministry.