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Australia says it respects Solomon Islands decision to switch to China
6:33 pm GMT+12, 19/09/2019, Solomon Islands

Australia says Solomon Islands' decision to end 36 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan will not affect the Pacific nation's bilateral relationship with Canberra.
 
This week Solomon Islands cabinet voted overwhelmingly in support of establishing diplomatic ties with China prompting Taipei to terminate their bilateral relations.
 
Honiara has yet to establish diplomatic relations with China, but Beijing has already issued a statement welcoming the move.
 
Australia is by far Solomon Islands largest aid donor with AUD$187 million (US$127 million) in official development assistance provided in the past financial year according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
 
A spokesperson from Australia's foreign ministry said Australia respected the sovereign right of the Solomons government to make its own decision and that the decision will not alter the bilateral relationship between Canberra and Honiara.
 
“Australia does not take a position on other countries' choices about their diplomatic relationships,” the spokesperson said.
 
Solomon Islands other major donor New Zealand has yet to comment on the Pacific country's decision to pursue diplomatic relations with China.
 
Staff from New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the minister had no comment on Solomon Islands' decision at this stage.
 
In stark contrast the United States seems to have taken issue with Solomon Islands' decision, its Senator Mike Pence reportedly withdrawing a prior invitation to meet with Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare in New York.
 
Other US Politicians have also been weighing in on Solomon Islands, Florida Senator March Rubio saying on twitter that he would explore ways to "cut off ties" with Solomon Islands.
SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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