I read with great interest the media responses by Alfred Sasako and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele following Taiwan Government’s (ROC) support to Malaita Province.
According to Alfred Sasako this “is a classic case of foreign interference in Solomon Islands domestic affairs, unless if Taiwan is supporting Malaita in the knowledge that it (Taiwan) is doing it because it is an integral part of the People’s Republic China’ (PRC) anything other than that ‘constitutes insurrection’ that can ‘quell potential uprising”.
It appears that this rhetoric comes from Communist agents, not citizens of a free Constitutional society such as Solomon Islands.
From the news media headline it was reported that Taiwan supported Malaita Province “Under its non-alliance Covid-19 Pandemic Global Response Program”. It seems Mr. Sasako does not know what “non-alliance” means. How Mr. Sasako tries to spin this is questionable and shows that all he does is promote PRC propaganda.
Let me explain, the non-alliance Covid-19 Pandemic Global Response Program is part of Taiwan’s support to countries or places that it does not have diplomatic ties with. So Taiwan’s support under this program is available to anyone around the world with or without diplomatic ties to ROC (Taiwan).
Mr. Sasako goes on to state “Taiwan has failed to learn in its 37 years tango with Solomon Islands is the fact that some leaders appear friendly only because of free money and their unwillingness to retire their spending without compliant from Taipei”.
Sadly, Mr. Sasako has forgotten that from the 37 years he was a leader, an MP for 8 years who also benefitted from Taiwan’s support. Maybe, Mr. Sasako forgot about this because he suffers from political amnesia. Perhaps he speaks from his own experience and his own attitude.
Malaita Province’s position in the Auki Communique is very clear and has nothing to do with race as Mr. Sasako would like to paint. Clause 17 of the Communique expresses that Malaitans (including MOI) observe Christian values and belief in God, and therefore reject Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its formal systems based on atheist ideology. This is Malaita Province’s position, and it will welcome partners around the world that share and recognize the values embraced by the Malaitan people.
The Malaita Provincial Premier’s statement regarding Republic of China’s (ROC) support under ‘its non-alliance Covid-19 Pandemic Global Response Program’ is straight forward. The statement acknowledges Taiwan as a government and a state in the context that it has the right to self-determination under international law. Whether Taiwan should be a province of PRC or not is irrelevant to the Premier’s statement.
Furthermore, since when has the democratically elected government of Solomon Islands become an agent of Xi Jinping and Beijing? Did the switch of ties last year make them answerable to Beijing and not to the people of Solomon Islands?
Minister Manele condemned the statement issued by Premier Daniel Suidani because it referred to ‘the Republic of China (ROC) as a state rather than a province of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’. In other words, the Premier’s statement did not follow the DCGA’s policy.
Minister Manele goes on to say that such “divisive statement from a Provincial Premier threatens the unity of the country at a time when we need to work together in keeping COVID-19 from entering our borders and not politicize the virus.” Minister Manele is confusing a policy issue with a health issue.
What does the Covid-19 virus have to do with Minister Manele and DCGA’s position on ‘One China policy’?
The Foreign Affair’s Minister and DCGA can continue to promote the “One China Policy” because they recognized that policy as of 21st September 2019 through a very skewed and questionable process without any provincial consultations.
But Minister Manele and DCGA should not continue to force people or even a province to do something or make statements that support their political position on ‘One China Policy’.
One good example is Guadalcanal Province’s relationship with Guangdong Province, which is part of PRC. On 12 October 1988 there was a launching ceremony of a PRC funded ship symbolizing the sister provincial relationship between PRC’s Guangdong Province and Guadalcanal Province. This happened during a time when the Solomon Islands Government’s foreign relation policy was establishing diplomatic ties with ROC (Taiwan).
Clearly, the actions of Guadalcanal Province at that time (even up 2014) was contrary to SIG’s foreign relation policy. Was this labelled as an external interference into Solomon Islands domestic affairs? Did Guadalcanal Province’s action threaten the unity of the country at that time? Was Guadalcanal Province condemned for its action? Did Guadalcanal Province breach any laws?
Or is this a double standard? One law for Guadalcanal Province and another law for Malaita Province? Or perhaps there is only one law now – the law serving Beijing?
The statement by the Malaita Provincial Premier is acknowledging Taiwan government’s support as a response to food security and health security. It is acknowledging Taiwan’s (ROC) support as reflecting a friendship relationship with Malaita Province and its people.
If the Premier’s statement refers to Taiwan as ROC and as a state that is contrary to Minister Manele and DCGA foreign relation policy position on PRC so what? What laws of Solomon Islands did the Provincial Malaita Premier breach? The Premier is just saying it, as it is!