9 Jun 2006

China trip stirs Marshalls leaders

3:46 pm on 9 June 2006

The President of the Majuro Chamber of Commerce says a parliamentary group's planned visit to China will jeopardise the Marshall Islands' relationship with Taiwan and the country's economy.

The Chamber has condemned the delegation's visit next week which is sparking controversy in a nation that is diplomatically aligned with Taiwan.

Chamber president Jack Niedenthal says they feel that without the consent of the government, the visit would sully the reputation of the Marshallese people.

Mr Niedenthal says the visit would have adverse economic effects...

"The real reason why a lot of us are upset is the PRC used to be out here, and when they'd do a project here, they'd bring in all their own workers - it did virtually nothing for our economy. Now when Taiwan came out here and started doing projects, they employ lots of Marshallese, they do lots of good projects that are really going to benefit a lot of Marshallese people."

However Jack Niedenthal says he's pleased to see that the opposition to the trip has convinced a number of the senators earlier planning to travel with the delegation to pull out of the trip.