28 Apr 2005

Marshall Islands government yet to officially deny China payment claims

3:29 pm on 28 April 2005

The Marshall Islands government is yet to dispel reports that members of the ruling party have been receiving payments from China in recent weeks, despite the country's near-seven year old ties with Taiwan.

The Marshall Islands Journal has run recent stories about reports of certain elected leaders, including United Democratic Party members, receiving money from people affiliated with China.

The payments, which reportedly amounted to between 6,000 and 10,000 US dollars each, are said to have been made to cultivate a return of ties to China.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says there has been no public statement or reaction by the government in an effort to squash these claims.

"You'd think that would be a high priority in an area of accountability, and particularly in trying to show that the relationship with Taiwan is very strong. Although in off-the-record conversation, government people have said, well, they've just dismissed the thing and said no, absolutely not, there's no change in policy, we're not switching to China."

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson