Solomon Islands Premier boards Taiwan Navy ship

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (center) visits a Taiwanese Navy ship. (photo courtesy of MOFA) (By Central News Agency)

HONIARA,10 MAY 2019 (TAIWAN NEWS) –Despite recent fears of a diplomatic break, new Solomon Islands Premier Manasseh Sogavare boarded a Taiwanese Navy ship to attend a reception Wednesday.

The Navy unit had sailed over from another of Taiwan’s 17 official diplomatic allies, the Marshall Islands, the Central News Agency reported.

In a news release Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said that Sogavare, his deputy, a predecessor, and Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele had all attended the reception on board the Panshi fast combat support ship.

The prime minister thanked Taiwan for 35 years of friendship and for its role as a development partner, the MOFA statement said. Sogavare also mentioned the problems facing his nation, such as climate change, rapid population growth, and economic development.

Over the past month, warning signs emerged that the Pacific island nation might switch recognition from Taiwan to China, even though Sogavare, who had served as a premier before, was considered a Taipei ally.

In a local radio interview, he said the status quo in relations with Taiwan was not “hard and fast and fixed,” and new developments might occur.

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