BY ALEX DADAMU
IN a landmark event on Monday, senior Government officials, members of Diplomatic missions to Solomon Islands, Members of Parliament, members of the Chinese community in Solomon Islands and members of the general public has witnessed official opening of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Honiara.
Exactly this day, a year ago, Solomon Islands and China signed the joint communiqué to establish formal relations, making Solomon Islands the 179th sovereign country to establish diplomatic relations with China, recognizing the ‘One China Principle’.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his official address to mark the opening of the Chinese embassy today said the decision to switch relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a decision that the Government of Solomon Islands carefully and thoughtfully made after more than 3 decades of defying the clear position taken by the United Nations.
“…and thereby placed Solomon Islands, as a member of the United Nations, in the right side of History.
“It was the right thing to do. Of course we had to weather all the hypocrisies that challenged the decision, by some international interests, working with some local pressure groups, unfortunately for their own narrow geopolitical reasons, using Small and vulnerable countries. We are not going to be moved by these narrow political agendas.
“We made it clear, as a sovereign nation by our undivided commitment to this new relationship, not to be part of any country’s narrow geo-political aspiration to influence our foreign policy, which is guided by the principle of “Friends to All (countries recognized by the United Nations), and Enemy to None”,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.
Sogavare said the Government are comforted by the assurance that China has very little strategic interest to pursue in the world, other than Taiwan. He added that as far as Solomon Islands relationship with the People’s Republic of China is concern, this is now being rectified.
“We have placed Solomon Islands in the right side of history. We will no longer undermine the territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China, respecting the One China Principle.
“This is common sense. Member countries of the United Nation have a duty of care to conduct our foreign policy within the ambit of the principles and resolutions of the United Nations, in the interest of peace, harmony and happy co-existence of nations.
He continued to spoke in front of a crowd gathered to witness the landmark event stating that the planet would be a better place to live in if members of the United Nations, especially the superpowers of the world take the lead to concentrate on addressing the welfare of humanity, like poverty, climate change, and economic development, instead of amassing power.
“In this regard we admire the pace at which PRC address poverty and positive response to United Nations protection of the Environment agendas, and modernization of China strategy over the last thirty years, culminating in the China we know today, which Solomon Islands is proud to be a partner of through our Diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in the meantime said today marks a new era of relations that signifies the permanent friendship of the People’s Republic of China and the Solomon Islands, as co-members of the United Nations. It involved correcting the mistakes of the past and respecting each other’s territorial boundaries.