Taiwan on Wednesday thanked a group of Solomon Islands parliamentarians for their stance on maintaining bilateral diplomatic relations, amid a months-long public debate on whether the Pacific ally should ditch its ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing.
On behalf of Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou expressed gratitude to the 16 Solomon Islands parliamentarians, including former Prime Minister Rick Hou, for their joint statement on the issue.
"The joint statement is testament that relations between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands are moving in a positive direction," Ou said.
She said the Taiwan government will continue to work closely with the Solomon Islands to deepen the already cordial bilateral ties.
After a general election in April, the new leadership of the Pacific island country had said it would reevaluate its relations with Taiwan during its first 100 days in office, which gave rise to speculation that the Solomon Islands was considering severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan soon.
In a statement posted on social media earlier Wednesday, however, the 16 Solomon Islands MPs voiced strong support for maintaining diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).
The parliamentarians said Taiwan has been a trustworthy partner in the Solomon Islands' development since 1983, when the two countries established diplomatic ties.
The ongoing review by the Solomon Islands' government extends to all of its diplomatic allies - not just Taiwan - and should not be seen as signaling a switch in diplomatic recognition, the parliamentarians said.
Some people have been pushing the new government to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, lured by "the glitter of China's economic power," but they are in the minority and have motives other than the national interests of the Solomon Islands, the parliamentarians said.
The majority of Solomon Islands' citizens throughout would reject any such proposal, according to the parliamentarians.
A diplomatic source told CNA that 13 of the 16 parliamentarians who signed the statement are members of the Solomon Islands' Cabinet, which indicates a strong consensus in the current government on maintaining ties with Taiwan.