6 May 2008

PNG and Taiwan deny knowledge of cash diplomacy issue

3:19 pm on 6 May 2008

The Papua New Guinea government and Taiwanese representatives in Port Moresby have both denied any knowledge of the reported diplomatic dollars scandal.

Taiwan's vice premier Chiou I-jen quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party yesterday after taking responsibility for the alleged embezzlement of 30 million US dollars.

The cash was to sway PNG support for Taipei's international recognition over Beijing.

But Taiwanese authorities allege the money was instead pocketed by two businessmen.

PNG's government said it has a one China policy and was not aware of the mission millions.

PNG's foreign affairs secretary Gabriel Pepson has told a local newspaper that Taiwan should know PNG officials could not be bought.

Nine years ago, the then prime minister, Bill Skate, switched ties to Taiwan but the move was rescinded and he was ousted from power.