9 Jun 2006

Marshalls group hails China trip pull-out

3:51 pm on 9 June 2006

The President of the Majuro Chamber of Commerce says has welcomed the decision of several Marshall Islands senators to pull out of a planned visit to China next week.

The Chamber has condemned the parliamentary delegation's visit next week which is sparking controversy in a nation that is diplomatically aligned with Taiwan.

Chamber president Jack Niedenthal says they feel that without the consent of the government, the visit will jeopardise the Marshall Islands' relationship with Taiwan and the country's economy.

Mr Niedenthal says flirtation with China could cause adverse economic effects, because Taiwan has proven a far more beneficial aid partner for the Marshalls than China did previously.

However, he says the outcry over the visit has already hit home...

"Well originally it was a group of seven or eight people, maybe it was even as high as ten, and as I understand today a number of the senators have now dropped off. I know for example our senator from Bikini Atoll is not going. And I know there's a couple of others who have also dropped off so the delegation is getting smaller and smaller, which to me is a very good thing."

Jack Niedenthal