Pledges by China often benefit interests of only few: MOFA

09/13/2019 09:02 PM
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Taipei, Sept. 13 (CNA) China likes to brag about its lavish financial pledges and flashy infrastructure aid, but often they end up benefiting the personal gains of only a few unscrupulous politicians, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) warned Friday.

The ministry's comments came after it was reported Friday on Up Media news site in Taiwan that a delegation of Solomon Islands officials had met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in Beijing in August and agreed to establish bilateral ties before Oct. 1 in exchange for US$500 million in financial assistance from China.

Beijing has pledged to match Taiwan's assistance packages and send agricultural and medical teams to the Solomon Islands, in a bid to allay potential misgivings by the Solomon Islands public, which is strongly against switching ties from Taiwan to China, the Up Media exclusive report said, citing diplomatic sources in Beijing.

According to the report, however, the Chinese sponsors of the medical programs allegedly are the same people behind Changsheng Bio-Technology Co. and the state-owned Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., which were found to have sold faulty vaccines last year. Changsheng has since been shut down by the China government.

The Up Media report also alleged that Beijing has promised to help upgrade the Solomon Islands' mobile communication infrastructure and to contract out the construction of such projects to businesses owned by the family of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

In response, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told CNA that Taiwan has been cautioning its allies not to be lured by China's multi-billion dollar promises as they will either remain unfulfilled or lead the recipient countries into debt traps.

On Friday, Sogavare called a meeting to discuss a report submitted by a bipartisan task force that recommended that the nation should cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

According to the report, a copy of which was obtained by CNA, the task force recommends that the Solomon Islands government switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China by mid-September, before Beijing celebrates China's Oct. 1 70th National Day.

Taiwan's foreign ministry, however, described the report as totally biased and distorted, noting that the task force did not even visit Taiwan on a fact-finding mission.

The Solomon Islands, one of Taiwan's 17 diplomatic allies, has been reviewing bilateral ties since its new government took office in April.

Ou said that although some officials from the Solomon Islands did visit Taiwan in August, they were not members of a fact-finding mission, but rather part of a parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Patteson Oti, who came to Taipei to attend the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union (APPU) annual gathering in Taipei.

There were no discussions with the Taiwanese government during the visit, she explained.

(Joanne Ou)

Furthermore, a statement in the report that MOFA officials informed the Solomon Islands that Taiwan would not conduct any special assistance programs for the Pacific island nation is simply a lie, according to the foreign ministry.

The fact-finding report has no credibility, as the task force members failed to conduct any proper fact-finding, she added.

The Solomon Islands said Friday that it hopes to make a decision by Sept. 21 on whether to switch recognition to China and cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

(By Elaine Hou and Ko Lin)

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