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Taiwan has no preconditions for foreign exchanges: MOFA

02/15/2024 02:11 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Taiwan's government said Thursday that it sets no preconditions for conducting exchanges with a foreign country and welcomes any opportunities to expand the nation's international presence.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Jeff Liu (劉永健) made the statement after an opposition party leader in the Solomon Islands said recently that his party would seek to reestablish official ties with Taiwan if it won the general elections in April.

The Solomon Islands, under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China soon after his election to power in 2019.

In 2022, the Sogavare administration signed a security pact with Beijing, causing alarm among the Solomon Islands' longtime partners - Australia, New Zealand and the United States - as they were concerned that the agreement would facilitate the establishment of a Chinese naval base in the Pacific region.

With the Solomon Islands now in a new election cycle, Peter Kenilorea Jr., political wing leader of the country's opposition United Party, is proposing a review of the pact with China, according to a report in the Solomon Star newspaper on Tuesday.

Kenilorea also said that if his party is elected to government in the April elections, it would seek to reestablish diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the newspaper reported.

Another opposition leader Matthew Wale said at a recent campaign event that the Solomon Islands' relations with China should be decided by means of a national referendum, according to the report.

He criticized Sogavare for not consulting the provinces before switching ties from Taiwan to China, which has led to a situation in which the Solomon Islands' largest province, Malaita, consistently refuses to cooperate with Beijing, the report said.

Commenting Thursday on the latest statements on the issue by Solomon Islands' opposition party leaders, Liu said Taiwan has always been "open-minded and sincere" in its exchanges with all foreign countries.

Taiwan welcomes any opportunity to elevate its international status and expand its global presence, Lui told reporters in Taipei, when asked to comment on the newspaper report.

Taiwan "will not set any preconditions for establishing relations with a foreign country," he said, when asked about the possibility of countries forging simultaneous diplomatic ties with Taipei and Beijing.

Beijing, however, is firmly opposed to the idea of simultaneous diplomatic recognition and has said that its diplomatic allies must first terminate relations with Taiwan before establishing formal ties with China.

Since Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) first took office in May 2016, the country has lost 10 diplomatic allies to China amid deteriorating cross-Strait relations. The most recent ally to switch sides was the tiny Pacific island country of Nauru, on Jan. 15.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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