13 Feb 2004

PNG leader warned about getting too close to Taiwan

4:34 pm on 13 February 2004

The Milne Bay Governor in Papua New Guinea has warned the Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare could wreck the good work he achieved on his State visit to China by getting too close to Taiwan.

Sir Michael has signed a multi-million dollar deal with China to finance the long-awaited Ramu nickel and cobalt mining project in Madang.

The Post Courier reports that governor Tim Neville claim that Sir Michael's delegation is returning to PNG with high-ranking Taiwanese officials.

Mr Neville says Sir Michael has had a long relationship with Taiwan and the Taiwanese Trade Mission was established in PNG during his tenure, with the Prime Minister defending its strongly.

Mr Neville says the Chinese will be watching Sir Michael closely.

He says any mistake and the deal he signed may as well have stayed unsigned.

Taiwan is an island state that resulted from Nationalist forces that fled the Communist advance on mainland China more than 50 years ago.

China still regards it as a province and tensions regularly surface.