Muaki: the time is right - Solomon Star News

Muaki: the time is right

13 September 2019
Andrew Muaki.

There is no other good time to decide the China/Taiwan than now says political commentators and former Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Andrew Muaki.

"The timing is right for Solomon Islands to put this issue before the table to decide it once and for all,” said Muaki in an exclusive interview with Solomon Star on Thursday.

He told this paper that next year there will be domestic election in Taiwan. 

“And indications are that the current government in Taipei may lose to the Opposition if the Opposition wins there is likely to be a truce between Beijing and Taipei about not poaching it's others ally. 

“Solomon Islands will then become irrelevant to the Beijing and other countries such as Australia and then we lose our leverage,” Muaki explained.

Muaki revealed that he and former Prime Minister Danny Philip casually explored the possibility of putting up this issue for a review way back in 2011 but quickly ruled it out because the timing was not favourable to Solomon Islands.

"I sort of brought the issue up with my boss casually at that time but he was quick to pour cold water on the idea because there was a truce between Beijing and Taipei. We also figured out that there was no appetite for such a move amongst MPs," Muaki told the paper.

In a response to this matter Philip told this paper yesterday that he knew from the very beginning somehow, somewhere this diplomatic relationship somehow change.

“I am no longer in the government now and cannot influence DCGA on any policy change on the current subject.

“But I can only hope our government will lead us through safely during this time of confusion,” Philip told this paper in an exclusive interview.

Muaki also added that he doubts any promise by the western donors such as the United States (US) would materialise. 

He made this statement in the light of what US Ambassador have just discussed with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his top officials in Honiara few days ago.

This paper understood that US Ambassador told Sogavare that they will look for ways that they can assist Solomon Islands in terms of grants to help the country with this its development aspirations.

"Let us be clear that the US expects Canberra and Wellington to be more upfront with us on the China/Taiwan issue. 

“Unfortunately, Canberra and Wellington are more concerned about preserving their trade relationships with China than upsetting it,” he pointed out.

He further stressed that should Solomon Islands decides to recognise PRC in line with UN Resolutions the expectation is that the traditional donor partners and friends to remain engage with Solomon Islands. 

"My expectation is that we shall see a high degree of engagement with our traditional friends and donors. 

“Our friends know that leaving us out in the cold because they disagree with us is as a matter of fact not in their own regional interest. 

“The case of Fiji comes into mind,” Muaki stressed.

He further argued that in the end Solomon Islands decision to recognize China would be in the overall best interest of Solomon Islands.