11 Oct 2002

PNG politicians defy China over Taiwan celebrations

11:14 am on 11 October 2002

Papua New Guinea government ministers have defied demands by China to boycott Taiwan's National Day celebrations in Port Moresby.

This week the Chinese Ambassador to PNG, Zhao Zhenyu, wrote to the PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare asking him to ensure that no ministers or officials attended the Taiwanese reception.

The same request was sent to the main newspaper which published the Chinese demand.

This prompted several media organisations, which had not planned to cover the event, to send reporters.

The event was packed to capacity with PNG business leaders and bureaucrats.

PNG has maintained a One China Policy of recognising China's sovereignty over Taiwan since PNG became independent from Australia in 1975.

Last week, senior PNG cabinet ministers attended China's 53rd anniversary celebrations.