The Solomon Islands: Caught between China and Taiwan?

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Chinatown has suffered because of the perception that it is China-backed. Being aligned with China has proven dangerous.

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The Washington Post

‘Nothing left’: Solomon Islands burn amid new violence as Australian troops arrive

By Michael E. Miller

November 26, 2021 at 5:10 a.m. EST

Much of the violence has targeted Honiara’s Chinatown, with dozens of buildings — many Chinese-owned — burned and looted.

“There is basically nothing left there,” Kekea said shortly after visiting the neighborhood on Friday. “There are only six buildings that are still standing, but otherwise most of the shops have been looted and burned.”

Chinese officials have said they are “seriously concerned” about attacks on Chinese citizens and institutions.

Anthony Leong from the Pacific-China Friendship Association said some of the organization’s members in Honiara had “gone to ground.”

“Things are in chaos right now,” he said in an email.
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The Global Times, a Chinese state-owned nationalist tabloid, reported that more than 100 shops owned by Chinese nationals had been destroyed, and that some store owners were “hiding in the hills.”

One of the few structures left unscorched in Chinatown was a building draped in Taiwanese flags.

When the protests began on Wednesday, Narissa Chang, a 28-year-old Taiwanese teacher at an international school about a mile from Chinatown, left work early, worried about violence. Chang and her boyfriend placed Taiwan’s flag inside their car to distinguish themselves from Chinese nationals.

“Many locals came up to us to tell us to turn around and leave as soon as possible,” she said. “All the shops were shut down. We saw police but not a single Chinese person on the street.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/solomon-islands-riots-china-australia/2021/11/25/afcde8ce-4dc6-11ec-a7b8-9ed28bf23929_story.html

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Solomon Islands politician calls for switch in diplomatic ties back to Taiwan

Daniel Suidana, premier of the country’s most populous province, says the change in recognition to Beijing was done without adequate consultation

He also calls for national dialogue to resolve long-standing domestic issues over the economy and land rights that he says are causing ongoing unrest

Associated Press+ FOLLOW

Published: 3:38pm, 3 Dec, 2021

The head of the most populous province in the Solomon Islands said the country would likely switch diplomatic ties back to Taiwan if the prime minister is ousted from his post following next week’s no-confidence vote, after looting and violent protests shook the capital city last month.

Daniel Suidani, the premier of Malaita, on Friday said he thinks the Solomon Islands should partner with Taiwan because they share democratic values.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare angered many in 2019, particularly leaders of Malaita, when he cut the country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan to recognise Beijing instead. Suidani said the switch was done without adequately consulting the public.

The Solomon Islands faced violent protests and unrest last week as long-simmering tensions over economic issues boiled over. The National Parliament building, a police station and businesses were set alight during two tumultuous days in which police failed to control a mob as it wrecked parts of the capital city.

Suidani called for national dialogue to resolve the issues causing ongoing unrest in his country, and said the reasons for the violence are long-standing domestic issues over the economy and land rights, not foreign interference.

He said that increasing corruption, unemployment and informal settlements, or slums, were among the major factors leading to the violence in recent days. He also accused the central government of blocking economic development in Malaita. He said he supports further protests on Monday but will encourage people to do it through “legal avenues”.

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The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manesseh Sogavare has blamed unrest in the country on the switch in diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China – but the Sydney Morning Herald’s International Editor Peter Hartcher says poor living standards and the sell-off of the country’s resources have also added to the tensions.

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Protests erupted in the capital of the Solomon Islands last week and things got kind of ugly. That’s what most of the media focused on in this story, but here we look at the reason protesters are so angry. The country has moved closer to China as it’s distanced itself from Taiwan, which many people are unhappy about. Watch this episode of China Uncensored for more on what led up to the protests, the peacekeeping troops that were sent in to restore order, and how this all could have been resolved peacefully.

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The Solomon Islands aren’t geographically between China and Taiwan, but they have become diplomatically. When the island’s government dropped diplomatic relations with Taiwan after pressure from the Chinese Communist Party, the people there were not happy. In particular, the premier of the archipelago’s most populous island, Malaita, spoke out loudly against the move. Joining us for this episode of China Uncensored is Daniel Suidani, Malaita’s premier, whose treatment for brain cancer in Taiwan has put him even more in the middle of the whole controversy.

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1 Response to The Solomon Islands: Caught between China and Taiwan?

  1. Pingback: Fallacy: If China is strong, others will think twice before mistreating oversea Chinese. Truth: Others look for Chinese “dogs” to mistreat | weehingthong

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