16 Sep 2019

Solomons PM tries to clarify 'useless' Taiwan comment

9:20 am on 16 September 2019

Solomon Islands prime minster Manaseh Sogavare has sought to clarify a comment he made on an Australian podcast that Taiwan is completely useless.

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Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

The Little Red Podcast, made my academics at the Australian National University, was examining the Solomons' pending decision on whether to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.

"To be honest when it comes to economics and politics Taiwan is completely useless to us," he said.

However, Mr Sogavare said the comment was taken out of context, being the imbalance between the amount of development assistance provided by Taiwan and the dollar value of Tuna caught by Taiwan in Solomon Islands' waters.

He said he was led to believe his conversation with the academic was confidential and not an interview.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Taiwan's foreign office has told the Solomon Star newspaper that Mr Sogavare's comment did not reflect the complete picture.

Joanne Ou said Taiwan had provided tremendous support to the Solomon Islands over the past 36 year which had benefited both sides.

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