9 May 2005

China rebukes Fiji for allowing Taiwanese leader to transit

6:51 am on 9 May 2005

China has accused Fiji of breaching its solemn commitment to a one-China policy by allowing the Taiwanese president, Chen Shui-bian, to transit through Nadi last week and making official contact with him.

The diplomatic row follows President Chen's meeting with Fiji's vice president, Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi, the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs and the president of the Senate.

A statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Suva says the Fiji government disregarded repeated solemn representations by Beijing when it allowed the transit of "the leader of the Taiwanese authorities."

The Chinese embassy says the issue has set a bad precedent of official contacts between Fiji and Taiwan and "caused disturbance" to China-Fiji relations.

But Fiji's foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, is quoted as saying the government was not involved in arrangements concerning President Chen's visit.