China-Solomon Islands ties get boost
By Sun Haoran Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/8 22:03:40
Sogavare's visit to enhance trust
China's Foreign Ministry said the visit of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to China will enhance the trust and deepen the relations between the two countries, which experts noted will serve as a model to countries still sharing "diplomatic ties" with the island of Taiwan.
Sogavare presented a wreath at the Monument to the People's Heroes at the Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Tuesday afternoon after arriving in the capital, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
It is the first time for a Solomon Islands prime minister to visit China after the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which will be significant to the development of China-Solomon Islands relations, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will exchange views with Sogavare on bilateral relations and other issues of common concern during their meetings.
The Solomon Islands cut "diplomatic ties" with China's island of Taiwan on September 16 and established official relations with the Chinese mainland on September 21.
Experts predict that the two countries would probably reach agreements on economy, infrastructure, education, tourism, culture and technology during Sogavare's visit, which will last until Sunday.
"The Solomon Islands is an important country along the sea route part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is abundant in mineral resources, fisheries and tropical crops, such as coconut oil, coffee and cocoa," Xu Guangyu, a senior Chinese expert on foreign affairs, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"China can help the islands develop deep processing of agricultural and mineral products and build piers, transportation and power plants to foster trade," Xu said.
China is the largest trading partner of the Solomon Islands, Geng said.
In 2018, the China-Solomon Islands trade reached $750 million, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
"The visit shows that the Solomon Islands attaches great importance to its relations with China, which accords with the former's national interests," Yang Lixian, a research fellow at the Beijing-based Research Center of Cross-Straits Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
She noted that the results of China-Solomon Islands cooperation will show that "a community with a share future for mankind" is not an empty promise and will serve as a model to countries that still keep "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan island.
"It also shows that, as China's influence grows, countries in these regions will no longer be intimidated and prevented by Western forces such as the US and Australia from cooperating with China," Yang said.
According to the Taiwan government's website, 15 countries still have "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan Island, including the Holy See, Palau and Paraguay.
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