President Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday that Taiwan's "Lamp for Africa " solar lighting project will be expanded to benefit rural residents of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

Ma noted during a meeting with visiting Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip at the Presidential Office that Taiwan has signed a cooperation agreement on solar power development with the Pacific ally, under which Taiwan will provide lighting for remote areas of the country.

Ma also congratulated Philip, who was elected prime minister in August, describing him as a leader with vision who can lead the country to making big progress on both the domestic and international stages.

According to Ma, Philip will work on building good relations with Taiwan and made particular mention of the partnership with the Republic of China in his policy white paper.

"Taiwan will play an essential role and provide assistance and support to the new government," Ma said.

Since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1983, Taiwan has focused on improving exchanges and providing the Solomon Islands with development in the fields of agriculture, medicine and education.

For example, the Solomon Islands' minister of agriculture and livestock is studying at Taiwan's National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Ma said. He added that providing humanitarian aid, promoting cultural exchanges and creating technological innovations are the key facets of Taiwan's foreign aid policy.