Taiwan to Boost SI Marine and Surveillance Capability

Two Taiwanese frigates, similar to the one pictured, arrived earlier this week in Honiara. - Photo Supplied

REPUBLIC of China (Taiwan) continues to expand its support to Solomon Islands by offering to help bolster the country’s maritime surveillance capability through provision of small coastguard vessels and training of cadets to crew the vessels.

Taiwan Ambassador to Solomon Islands His Excellency Roger Luo and the Commanding Officer of the “Fleet of Friendship”, Commander Rear Admiral Wang-Kuo Chian together with the senior naval staff paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today to thank the Prime Minister for Solomon Islands’ friendship and support over the past 35 years of bilateral relations.

During the meeting, Ambassador Luo offered to provide small Coastguard vessels to help boost Solomon Islands’ maritime surveillance capability and also offered to train cadets in Taiwan’s naval Academy to crew the vessels.

“Our Government is willing to help provide you the small navy-built vessels. We are also willing to provide training for young men and women who want to become navy officers who can crew the vessels in the future” Ambassador Luo explained.

Ambassador Luo said all cost of such training will be met by the Taiwan Government.

Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Sogavare in response welcomed the offer, which will augment the patrol boats we receive from Australia and help us, police our vast Exclusive Economic Zone better.

Commander Rear-Admiral Wang Cheng-chung recognized our country’s vital importance as a partner and ally and acknowledged the close relations the two countries currently enjoy.

He is hopeful that their goodwill visit has also demonstrated Taiwan’s commitment to support the Solomon Islands.

“I also see our visit can help forge even stronger relationships,” he said, further adding that they are very thankful for the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister.