AUSTRALIA TELLS CHINA, TAIWAN TO STOP INTERFERING IN SOLOMON ISLANDS POLITICS
From the Sydney Morning Herald : Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has warned China and Taiwan to stay out of Solomon Islands politics, saying chequebook diplomacy is unacceptable.
"We don't want to see chequebook diplomacy entering the Pacific," he said in an address at the National Press Club attended by China's ambassador to Australia, Fu Ying.
Mr Downer said it was up to Solomons MPs to choose a new prime minister, free of "inappropriate incentives", following the resignation of Prime Minister Snyder Rini.
Mr Rini quit following only eight days as prime minister after members of his ruling coalition crossed the floor of parliament, and his replacement is expected to be chosen early next week.
It has been claimed riots, which broke out a short time after Solomons MPs chose Mr Rini as PM, stemmed from a belief that he won office thanks to the support of Taiwanese money.
Taiwan is officially recognised by the Solomons Islands, along with five other Pacific nations, much to the chagrin of China. In respect of this official recognition, which holds some small sway in the international arena, the Solomon Islands recieve substantial investment from Taiwan.
China and Taiwan are quietly battling, at least diplomatically, for access to the resources of the Solomon Islands, as well as 'basing rights' for any number of the thousands of islands in the region not controlled by Australia.
That political parties, and individual politicians, in the Solomon Islands are being "funded" by Taiwan and China interests will eventually be investigated, locals hope, and the corruption that has plagued the islands for decades will be dismantled and dealt with.