The visiting Taiwanese Foreign Minister Hon. Dr. David Lee has had a constructive bilateral talk with his Solomon Islands counterpart Hon. Milner Tozaka at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Headquarters in Honiara on Tuesday this week.
Minister Tozaka thanked the Taiwanese government for the ongoing support and assistance provided over the year; however raised the importance of pragmatically re-shaping our engagements to greater heights.
Minister Tozaka further stresses the need for fresh bilateral cooperation and assistance towards the development aspiration of Solomon Islands. Minister Tozaka highlighted that approximately 80 % of Solomon Islanders are living in the rural areas, hence stretching out major development projects such as infrastructure and hydro-renewable energy to the rural areas should be a priority.
The Taiwanese Foreign Minister reassured that there are potential for developing Solomon Islands; quoting ROC/Taiwan as a benchmark to learn and benefit from. Hon. Dr. Lee highlighted that area of cooperation would range from education, health and agriculture to name a few.
He further informed that Taiwan and Solomon Islands will cooperate together and work towards the possible means to have these newly discussed development potentials realized.
To further enhance people to people diplomacy, Minister Tozaka informed his counterpart that Solomon Islands is a soccer loving country and its national soccer team will be preparing to take on New Zealand in the final Oceania qualifying playoffs leading up to the upcoming World Cup in Russia next year. He further requested the possibility of Taiwan to send its national soccer team to have an International friendly match with the National side prior to their home and away game with New Zealand.
Taiwan has been assisting Solomon Islands over the past years in the Education sector through Scholarships for our citizens studying in Taiwan, the Health Sector, and Solar energy and through other rural projects.
They have also continued to assist the government through grants under the RCDF. The Parliamentary Complex built adjacent to the National Parliament Building was also funded by Taiwan. Taiwan will also be funding the new Arts and Craft Centre in the Art Gallery area. The prospects for Taiwan’s assistance towards Solomon Islands hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games is still in progress.
Minister Dr. Lee will be spending his duty visit to Solomon Islands in Honiara for the next couple of days and will depart Honiara on Friday 23rd. He is accompanied by his spouse and senior government officials from the Taiwan Foreign Ministry.