28 Apr 2006

Taiwan rejects NZ claim of chequebook diplomacy in Solomons

1:29 pm on 28 April 2006

Taiwan has dismissed claims by the New Zealand Defence Minister, Phil Goff, that it is indulging in chequebook diplomacy in Solomon islands.

The competition from China and Taiwan for influence has been identified as one of the factors fostering the recent turmoil in Honiara.

Mr Goff is quoted saying the competition leads to money being devoted not to proper assistance programmes but going to particular individuals.

The Taiwanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Antonio Chen, says this is not the case.

He says their spending is 100 percent transparent.

"The only thing is that with accountability there is some room to improve. Because we do not have enough manpower to check every project. This year we support a couple of hundred projects around every corner in Solomon Islands it is impossible for us to check every project in every corner."

Mr Chen says as soon as the new government is in place they will hold discussions on how to improve this monitoring.