7 Aug 2006

Solomons government postpones trip to Taiwan

6:04 am on 7 August 2006

A trip by a large Solomon Islands delegation to Taiwan, led by the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has been postponed.

The decision was prompted by a political impasse between Mr Sogavare and several senior Cabinet ministers.

The Commerce Minister, Francis Billy Hilly, belongs to the National political party and it has signed a memorandum of understanding with China, while the Solomons officially recognises Taiwan.

The Prime Minister has been pushing for Mr Billy Hilly to revoke the agreement, which was signed with the China's Communist party last year

The trip to Taipei was intended to resolve any uncertainty caused by the revelations over the relationship between the National Party and China.

The Foreign Minister, Patterson Oti, who is also a member of the National Party, is already in Taiwan and during a meeting with the Taiwanese President he gave assurances that diplomatic relations would continue.