7 Aug 2006

Solomon Islands prime minister set to continue visit to Taiwan

3:30 pm on 7 August 2006

The Solomon Islands government says its relationship with Taiwan remains strong despite a cabinet row over a coalition partner, the National Party, reportedly signing a memorandum with China.

The secretary to cabinet, John Roughan, is also denying reports that the prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has had to cancel a trip to Taipei to deal with the dispute.

Mr Sogavare has been pushing for the National party to revoke the agreement signed last year because Solomon Islands officially recognises Taiwan.

Mr Roughan says as far as he knows, Mr Sogavare is set to leave for Taipei mid-week.

"The relationships with this government and Taiwan is still very strong. During the trip, he'll be meeting with the president in Taiwan and, I'm sure, other officials. Also, there'll be people in the business sector."

Mr Roughan says there may have been confusion because Mr Sogavare has cancelled a stopover in Papua New Guinea.