Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has assured the new Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Roger Luo that the Solomon Islands-Taiwan relationship ‘can only grow stronger and stronger.’

The Prime Minister made the assurance when the Ambassador paid a courtesy call on him this morning. Ambassador Luo arrived in Solomon Islands last Monday. He replaces His Excellency Victor Te-sun Yu.

“Our relationship is based on the fundamental principles of democracy and human rights which our two countries firmly believe in and uphold.

“I can assure you that the relationship between our two countries can only grow stronger and stronger,” Prime Minister Sogavare said in his welcome remarks to Ambassador Luo.

Prime Minister Sogavare described Taiwan as a ‘true friend’ to Solomon Islands for standing by Solomon Islands in its times of need including the ethnic tension.

He said Solomon Islands will continue to express its support for Taiwan’s bid for International recognition at the United Nations podium, adding that Solomon Islands is not afraid to speak for Taiwan on that fora.

Prime Minister Sogavare said Taiwan is significantly contributing towards Solomon Islands achievement of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through its assistance towards the empowerment of rural Solomon Islanders and improvement of their livelihood.

In response, Ambassador Luo, thanked Prime Minister Sogavare for his warm words of welcome and also assurance of Solomon Islands steadfast commitment towards its relationship with Taiwan.

He said he looks forward for a fruitful term in office in Solomon Islands and cordial working relationship with the Government and people of Solomon Islands.

Ambassador Luo and Prime Minister Sogavare also touched on the 2023 Pacific Games main stadium project to be funded by Taipei upon the request of Honiara.

“Of course we will do our best to help you prepare for the games. There are some details that we will need to sit and discuss,” Ambassador Luo told Prime Minister Sogavare.

The ambassador said Taipei has identified one experienced construction firm for the project and is now looking for a second one for the purpose of cost comparison to meet the specific need of Solomon Islands.

He said the construction firm sent a team of specialists last November to look at the proposed 2023 Pacific Games main stadium site.

Prime Minister Sogavare, in turn, thanked Ambassador Luo for updating him on the progress of main stadium project and Taipei for responding positively to Solomon Islands request for assistance.

Prime Minister Sogavare and the Taiwanese Ambassador also discussed Taiwan’s intention to establish a permanent embassy in Honiara.

The Taiwanese Ambassador said the permanent embassy would symbolise the longstanding cordial relationship between Solomon Islands and Taiwan, adding that it would be ‘great’ to have this project completed at the same time with the 2023 Pacific Games main stadium project.

Prime Minister Sogavare assured Ambassador Luo that the Solomon Islands Government would provide necessary assistance to ensure the proposed embassy project is accomplished.

Ambassador Luo has previously served in Busan in South Korea, Kingstown in St Vincent and Grenada and in Mbabane in the Kingdom of Swaziland.