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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Taiwanese Ambassador to SI clarifies PINA Convention sponsorship

The Taiwanese government, through its ambassador to the Solomon Islands George Chen has rubbished suggestions by China that it's politicising the Pacific Islands News Association through its sponsorship of the upcoming PINA Convention in Honiara in May.

The Taiwanese government is providing US$65 thousand dollars for the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) to host the upcoming PINA Convention in May. This has prompted a spokesman from the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby to accuse Taiwan last week of trying to influence the media in the region.

But the Taiwanese Ambassador in Honiara, George Chen has dismissed this allegation. Mr Chen clarified that hosting the PINA convention in Honiara was endorsed as a national project by the Sogavare government and forwarded to the Taiwanese embassy for funding, and it was not a Taiwanese initiative to politicise media in the region.

Mr Chan added that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare personally requested assistance from Taiwan and the money was made available through the Solomon Islands government. He says that if China has any issues with the funding then it should take it up with the Solomon Islands government and not Taiwan. Therefore, China's protest over the funding is an interference of Solomon Islands internal business.

Mr Chan assured the Pacific media associates and China that there were no strings attached to the sponsorship as MASI is free to decide on who to invite or what topics to include in the conference.

Source: Pacific Beat

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