18 Jul 2011

Vanuatu foreign minister signals diplomatic ties with Taiwan

1:39 pm on 18 July 2011

Vanuatu's foreign minister has said his country is ready to sign up to diplomatic links with Taiwan.

Alfred Carlot told Vanuatu's Daily Post newspaper he plans to visit Taipei shortly to set up a trade office.

Since soon after gaining independence in 1980, Vanuatu has observed the One China Policy.

A move in 2004 by the then Prime Minister Serge Vohor to switch ties to Taiwan brought his government down.

Mr Carlot's comment comes shortly after he decided to recall a former Prime Minister Donald Kalpokas from his post as Ambassador to the United Nations.

The recall stemmed from confusion over the government's move to recognise the sovereignty of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Meanwhile, Mr Carlot says he'll request that Beijing settle Vanuatu's budget shortfall of 31 million US dollars.

He is quoted as saying he agreed to vote with China to keep Japan off the UN Security Council and that the vote was expensive.