6 Jul 2006

Former Solomon Islands MP backs switching allegiance from Taiwan to China

7:42 pm on 6 July 2006

A former Cabinet Minister in Solomon Islands, Alfred Sasako, says the country should take up diplomatic ties with China.

His comments come amid rumours that two partners in the coalition government are split over whether to maintain the existing foreign policy supporting Taiwan.

The Solomon Social Credit party of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is reported to want to maintain the support for the country's number one aid donor, Taiwan, while the National Party of former Prime Minister, Francis Billy Hilly, wants to switch support to China.

Alfred Sasako, who is about to leave for a media trip to China, says the future of Solomon Islands would be safeguarded if a decision was made to turn to China.

"That would be a great day for the Solomons, it holds a huge potential for the future and I think the fact that our population is growing at 3.2 percent a year, with limited or no scope of expanding our economy, we need huge investment and I know that China is interested."

Former MP, Alfred Sasako.

He would not say who was funding his trip to China.