Posted by : Posted on : 05-Sep-2019

Solomon Islands review of its diplomatic relations with Taiwan

The Solomon Islands is continuing to make headlines in newspapers and radio bulletins as the country reviews its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Today, Thursday, 5 September 2019, a news release from Radio New Zealand quoted the Prime Minister, the Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, has having said

"Any decision that will be made on the China - Taiwan question should not and will not be in the interest of an individual nor a political grouping, hence, any decision must be and will be a collective decision that will be in the interest of this nation and its citizens,"

Yesterday in Honiara, the Hon. Minister for Communication and Aviation, Peter Shanel Agovaka, appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee (FRC), which is holding an inquiry into the question of the Solomon Islands severing ties with Taiwan in favour of China (PRC).

Minister Agovaka outlined to the FRC the details of his recent involvement in the fact finding mission to China and his discussions there and observations.

At one point during questioning of Minister Agovaka, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Foreign Relations Committee,� Peter Kenilorea Jnr, asked the question if the government and the task-force had considered the principles of democracy, rule of law and respect to human rights in their analysis of the issue.

MinsterAgovaka admitted that it was a hard question to answer.

However, he reportedly said it was not about China or Taiwan but about Solomon Islands.

Having lived and worked in Hong Kong for several years in the past, I have been keen to follow recent events in the former British Colony where protests have been occurring for several weeks against claims that the Chinese government is not keeping to the Basic Law which was co-signed and agreed to by the British and Chinese governments prior to the handover of the territory to China in 1997.

The issues of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights have been at the forefront of the protests in Hong Kong and concerned me to the extent that I turned to the writing of� C W Chan, the author of a lengthy and information article titled, �Human Rights and Democracy with Chinese Characteristics.�

The article, published by Oxford Press as a Human Rights Law Review in 2013 can be viewed on line, but all rights are reserved.

It could be helpful to the Solomon Islands FRC if the article is viewed while considering the diplomatic relationships that are now underway.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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