13 Dec 2004

Vanuatu Foreign Minister refuses to meet Taiwan officials - confirms to Beijing its one China policy

8:33 pm on 13 December 2004

Vanuatu's new Foreign Minister, Sato Kilman, says he has informed Beijing that all arrangements entered into with Taiwan by the previous Government have been cancelled.

Mr Kilman, the Opposition leader until last Friday, is now Deputy Prime Minister in a Government headed by Ham Lini, after the ousting of Serge Vohor in a no confidence vote.

Mr Vohor was dumped because he secretly set up diplomatic links with Taiwan despite his coalition's one China policy.

Taiwanese Government officials have been trying to meet with Mr Kilman but he says he has directed staff to ask them to leave the country.

"I have said, at the present time, considering how they came to Vanuatu, I will not meet them and I do not think it is in the interests of our people, both Taiwan business people and ni-Vanuatu, to try and do something at this point when there is a lot of doubt hanging in the air about the relationship between the two countries."