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Taiwan is a state: Solomon Islands parliamentary committee head

2019/09/22 20:00:21

CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) The head of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Solomon Islands Parliament on Sunday criticized his government's decision to establish diplomatic relations with China based on the "One China Principle," saying "Taiwan is in fact a State."

The South Pacific nation formally established diplomatic ties with Beijing on Saturday after breaking ties with Taiwan earlier in the week.

There seems to be two main reasons the Solomon Islands established ties with China, Peter Kenilorea Jr., an opposition lawmaker who leads the parliamentary foreign relations committee, said in a statement issued Sunday.

"The first is to recognize the 'One China Principle'," while the second consideration to establish ties is that Solomon Islands has "national needs," Kenilorea Jr. said.

In terms of the first consideration, he noted the United Nations Charter upholds the right to self-determination. "Taiwan is in fact a State, as we know, given the three decades of our diplomatic relations with them as well as their own relations with the rest of the world," Kenilorea Jr. stressed.

Turning to the country's national needs, he said: "We cannot deny that we have genuine development needs but China, nor any other country, is the cure.

"This responsibility to seriously address our pressing development challenges rests squarely on us."

"But making such a declaration on day one of our relations, that the relationship is based on 'needs', only cements Solomon Islands already vulnerable position going into the relationship," Kenilorea Jr. noted.

"It also sounds desperate," he said.

He added that the expectation expressed by the weaker partner in such a relationship, that the more powerful partner will address its "needs," must be carefully managed, "as it could easily lead to situations where the weaker partner is exposed to abuse by the more powerful one."

The statement came after Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (王毅) signed a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations in Beijing on Saturday.

Manele said in a statement issued Wednesday that the Solomon Islands decided to recognize the one China policy and its decision is in compliance with U.N. Resolution 2758 and done within the spirit and purpose of the U.N. Charter.

Kenilorea Jr. was elected as a first time member of parliament earlier this year. He has also served as permanent secretary of the country's foreign ministry.

From 2000-2017 Kenilorea Jr. held positions in the U.N. Office of Legal Affairs, the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the U.N. Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, among others.

His father Sir Peter Kenilorea helped lead the country to independence from Britain in 1978, becoming its first prime minister from 1978-1981.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Evelyn Kao)
Enditem/AW