17 Nov 2004

China confident that Taiwan embassy in Vanautu will not go ahead

4:17 pm on 17 November 2004

Chinese Embassy officials in Vanuatu say they believe the Council of Ministers' rejection last week of the Prime Minister's offer of diplomatic recognition for Taiwan is the end of the matter.

This comes as Prime Minister Serge Vohor's staff continue to claim that the Ministers have changed their view and will support Taipeh opening an embassy in Port Vila.

The Prime Minister's spokesman, Kal Moli, says this backing will be formalised after Mr Vohor and the Council meet tomorrow.

But Willie Jimmy, one of the most senior Ministers, said yesterday that he will continue to support a one China policy and that backing Taiwan is not in Vanuatu's interests.

An Embassy attache, Xun Bin, is confident that the Council's voting down of Mr Vohor's offer to Taiwan is final.

"I can tell you that the decision made by the Council of Ministers on the tenth of November is a final decision. All ten Ministers voted against the Prime Minister His Excellency Serge Vohor. That is all I can tell you because I am not in position to say more."

The newsagency AFP reports that a Chinese Foreign Ministry official has called for Vanuatu to honour the commitments it made in a joint declaration on the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1982.