28 Jun 2010

Billy Hilly wants Solomons to swap Taiwan ties for China link

3:24 pm on 28 June 2010

A former Solomon Islands prime minister, Francis Billy Hilly, says if his National Party comes to power in the August election, it will cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

According to the Solomon Star, Mr Billy Hilly, who is the caretaker finance minister, made the policy switch pledge when he launched his party's election manifesto.

He says if his National Party gets to lead the government, diplomatic ties with Taiwan will be severed and set up with China instead.

Mr Billy Hilly says Solomon Island is the only Melanesian country to recognise Taiwan as an independent nation.

He says his country's almost 30 years of bilateral relationship with Taiwan has failed to record any major Taiwan investment.

On the other hand, he says, informal trade with China is worth about US$40 million and investments by mainland Chinese are pouring in every day.