Another Government delegation will be travelling to China this week to hold high level talks with respective counterparts and decision makers within the PRC Government.

The Government was forced to issue a statement after the planned visit was leaked to social media.

The statement says the delegation, consisting of ministers and government backbenchers, are expected to identify critical areas for potential engagement.

"This is necessary for the government’s commitment towards determining the best possible outcome for Solomon Islands that represents our long-term development interests; while also safeguarding internal stability through the implementation and delivery of key policies, which are aligned with our bilateral relationships," the statement reads.

The statement also clarified that this ministerial group defers from the Bipartisan Taskforce, which will conduct concurrent but separate consultations during the visit of both delegations.

“Due to the significance of the decision and potential implications arising from any shift from the existing status quo of our foreign policy, should there be a shift, it warrants the presence of Ministers and Senior Caucus MP’s to provide a broader view of sensitive issues. This will also ensure there is a higher level of access to decision makers within the PRC Government, which in the final analysis, will provide Cabinet with the additional insight required to make a fully informed decision,” the statement said.

The statement further adds that the decision to allow Ministers and Senior Caucus MP’s to visit the PRC for purposes of establishing a better and more open understanding of the prevailing issues concerning any shift in diplomatic relations does not undermine the current status of our relationship with the Republic of China (Taiwan).

“In fact, ROC have been well informed of this proposed visit as this is also in line with the DCGA policy of being a friend to all and enemy to none which was highlighted in the DCGA 100 days in office. So there is nothing sinister about the visit as everything is done in total transparency,” it said.

Meanwhile, the statement also clarified that the Chinese People’s Association will meet the travel and accommodation costs for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).

Since the Solomon Islands do not have formal bilateral relations with China; the delegation has been invited by CPAFFC acting as an intermediary between both governments.

The statement further clarified that the SIG will provide for per diem and contingency costs in accordance with travel protocols for Ministers and Members of Parliament.

The duration of the visit is from August 15th -19th.
Members of the delegation include;

1. Hon. Peter Shanel – MCA and Head of Delegation
2. Hon. Harry Kuma – MOFT
3. Hon. Manasseh Maelanga – MID
4. Hon. Dudley Kopu – MRD
5. Hon. Anthony Veke – MPGIS
6. Hon. Clesy Rore – MCLII
7. Hon. Jackson Filaua – Deputy Chairman Caucus
8. Hon. Commins Mewa – Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman
9. Mr. Ronald Fugui – PM’s Private Secretary.

Source: OPMC