31 Oct 2005

Taiwan meets diplomatic partners away from official Forum venue

3:09 pm on 31 October 2005

Taiwan has made its presence felt at this year's Pacific Island Forum meetings despite not being an official partner at talks following the summit meeting.

The so called Post Forum Dialogues with nations interested in the Forum grouping finished over the weekend in Port Moresby.

Taiwan met the six Pacific nations that give it diplomatic recognition away from the main venue.

From Port Moresby, Don Wiseman reports.

"Taiwan pleaded to be allowed to become a member, associate or observer at the Forum. It says it has a lot to offer and is ready to help with the implementation of the Pacific Plan. It says this sort of recognition could lead to huge interest among Taiwanese in visiting the island countries as tourists. It granted more money to the Forum itself and the other regional agencies. It also confirmed it would pick up the costs of repatriating the I-Kiribati and Tuvaluan workers stranded on Nauru."

China meanwhile, made probably the biggest splash, announcing it would set up the China/Pacific Islands Development and Cooperation Forum through which it would offer help for, among other activities, agriculture, fisheries, health, and education.

India also offered educational support to the region.

The Dialogue was noteworthy for the United States announcing it would set up an anti-money laundering programme in the Pacific.

The European Commission told the 12 Pacific members of the ACP aid deal there needs to be more progress on the Economic Partnership Agreements being developed with Brussels.

PNG got into the mood of dispensing largesse, giving a grant to Nauru, while Nauru spelled out what steps it is taking to overcome the economic crisis there, and appealed for support for their Donor Roundtable meeting on Nauru at the end of next month.