, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Breaking for Pacific watchers – I’ve interviewed Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare about China/Taiwan, his meeting with @ScottMorrisonMP and the Pacific step up. Here are some excerpts. 1/
Sogavare says that Solomon Islands is under “a lot of pressure” to recognise China, though he doesn’t say precisely what form that pressure takes. He praises Taiwan-SI ties and says it would be “sad” if Honiara ditched Taipei 2/
But Sogavare says his nation has a “super long list” of factors to weigh up as it makes the decision. On the one hand, China could offer assistance with major infrastructure projects. On the other hand – well, there could be strings attached 3/
His reference to Africa and Asia is interesting- not surprisingly Sogavare is taking a hard look at allegations of Chinese govt debt trap diplomacy in places like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and east Africa 4/
So what did Scott Morrison say when they met on Monday? Sogavare confirms Morrison placed no pressure on SI on the subject. But he also says Morrison gave a warning about the “difficult times” some smaller nations have endured while dealing with China 5/
Sogavare though also emphasised that Morrison said that no matter what decision Solomon Islands made, Australia would continue to be a major partner and close friend 6/
Remember on Monday Morrison said that he did not put pressure or provide “advice” to Sogavare on Taiwan/China. The first claim seems accurate, but the second seems questionable- it sounds awfully like advice to me! But I wasn't in the room and perhaps this a game of semantics 7/
Sogavare also praised Australia’s decision to invest more aid money in infrastructure projects- “infrastructure development is something we wanted all along- a country that does not invest in infrastructure invests in nothing” 8/
Finally the PM said Aus was boosting infrastructure funding because it was a key priority for SI. And he agreed some Pacific leaders felt "traditional donors" were previously intent on giving Pacific nations types of ODA they *felt* they needed, not what they actually asked for
And I'm sorry, I should have said at the beginning, credit for the photo used in my first tweet goes to Mr Sogavare's office
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