Solomons marks diplomatic switch with opening of Chinese embassy

Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare (left) with Li Ming, China's first ambassador to Solomon Islands. Photo: George Herming - Government Communications Unit

Solomon Islands has marked what the prime minister referred to as putting the country on the “right side of history”, with the official opening of China’s embassy in Honiara.

A year ago Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations with China after previously recognising Taiwan for 36 years.

Today a flag raising ceremony was held in front of the embassy building in Honiara to mark the occasion.

It was attended by Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, members of parliament and local dignitaries.

Beijing’s first ambassador to the Pacific Island country, Li Ming, hosted the ceremony.

During the opening Sogavare said when the Solomons signed a joint communiqué with China, it became the 179th sovereign country to establish such diplomatic relations.

“It is a decision that the Government of Solomon Islands carefully and thoughtfully made after more than three decades of defying the clear position taken by the United Nations, and thereby placed Solomon Islands, as a member of the United Nations, in the right side of History.”

Sogavare said it was the right thing to do.

“Of course we had to weather all the hypocrisies that challenged the decision, by some international interests, working with some local pressure groups, unfortunately for their own narrow geopolitical reasons, using small and vulnerable countries. We are not going to be moved by these narrow political agendas.”

The prime minister said the day marked a new era of relations that signified the permanent friendship of China and Solomon Islands, as co-members of the United Nations.

“It involved correcting the mistakes of the past and respecting each other’s territorial boundaries.”

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