Viulu’s response to the Independent Group
Samson Viulu, Seghe, Marovo
First and foremost, I acknowledge the concerns raised by the leader of the Independent Group in Parliament regarding my personal view on the switch. I may be perceived wrong and naive by critics however, I am merely sharing my own personal views and these do not represent nor reflect the official view point of the government.
The leverage in other words is to out rightly say that the switch has bring about new economic and development opportunities for the country. It is not to say that our traditional partners have done nothing to assist us in our development aspirations. Our traditional partners have indeed assisted us in many ways and in magnitude to this very day and I heartily acknowledge that. But that should not stop the government to establish diplomatic friendship with the Peoples Republic of China (PRC).
As we all know, PRC is the second largest economy to the USA but is projected to overtake the USA as the No. 1 economy by 2030. China is also the largest purchasing power in the globe because it has the largest and rising middle class population with the world’s highest population of 1.4 billion people. Therefore, the market is there for our products and we have existing trade relations with them that is bigger compared to other nations.
China is also the world’s largest trading partner worth US$4.6 trillion in 2018, the world’s number one manufacturer since 2010 and the major owner of US public debt, holding trillions of dollars’ worth of U.S. Treasury bonds. China is also Solomon Islands largest trading partner with 66% of our total export in 2019. So basically what I am saying is, let us utilize this opportunity presented by the Chinese market.
As a citizen of Solomon Islands I have every right to express my views on matters of national interests and that we should be allowed to share alternative opinions to the public discourse rather than bowing to the status quo. It is also equally important that we continue to feed and educate our general public with the correct information than feeding them with propaganda news hence, I am of the opinion that the switch is good for Solomon Islands because it opens up more opportunities for us in terms of trade and infrastructure development. Besides, I do not advise the political government on foreign matters. That is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade. But I do advise the political government on productive sector related matters pertaining to policy implementation. Thus, I am more than willing to bear responsibility for any failures by the productive sector line ministries which are agriculture, commerce, lands, fisheries, communication/aviation, tourism and infrastructure.
And I hope the technical officials within these seven line ministries take the same responsibility as I do. But that is beside the point. The crux of the matter here is, whether we admit it or not, you will all agree with me that Solomon Islands did not just come into existence in 2019 after the switch nor did it just exist in 2022 when the purported security deal surfaced. And why all this attention now? Whether the national government shares the same view as mine or not, it is very obvious for all to see that the switch had brought our traditional bilateral friends more closely to our doorsteps.
Any laymen would observe that the switch is about these following reasons which are maintaining the “Friends to All Enemies to None”, the UN Resolution 2758 on One China Policy, Economic Reasons and of course leverage/opportunities. Lest you forget or do not know that the work on the switch was already done and completed prior to my joining the government.
So clearly I do not have any part in the switch but just trying to make sense of it and that, these are solely my own personal views and does not represent that of the political government nor MFAET. The message is, it is in the best interest of Solomon Islands that it works more closely with all the big economies of the world and that there is no harm being friends with the PRC. My personal take on all these is, while we must accommodate the interests of our friends, the Interest of Solomon Islands must supersede all other interests. True friends will remain. Long live Solomon Islands!