13 Mar 2007

Construction begins on convention centre for Marshall Islands

9:53 am on 13 March 2007

Taiwan has given the Marshall Islands a cheque for one million dollars as part of a groundbreaking ceremony for a Taiwanese-funded $5 million project to build a two-story convention centre in time for the second Taiwan Pacific Allies Summit in late 2007.

Construction of the centre is being rushed so the Marshall Islands can host the summit in October.

Once built, the facility will allow the Marshall Islands to host regional and international conferences that it is presently unable to accomodate..

The new centre will be able to hold 1,000 people.

The largest meeting facility currently in Majuro can hold only about 250 people.

The Taiwan Pacific Allies Summit will bring together the heads of state from the six countries that diplomatically recognize Taiwan - Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Palau and Nauru , and Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.

This year¹s summit follows a similar high-profile meeting held for the first time last September in Palau.