PNG’S SOMARE WANTS US-STYLE TRADE TIES WITH TAIWAN

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (July 26, 1999 – Radio Australia)---Papua New Guinea's new Foreign Minister, Sir Michael Somare, says he wants to develop close, U.S.-style trading ties with Taiwan, but that PNG will maintain its "one China" policy.

Sir Michael was named Foreign Minister in a 24-strong cabinet announced today by Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta.

In its dying days, former Prime Minister Bill Skate’s government concluded a controversial deal that included diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, overturning its longstanding one China policy, in return for aid assistance and business concessions.

That arrangement was overturned by new Prime Minister Sir Mekere.

Sir Michael Somare is known to have close ties with Taiwan.

He said he would like PNG to develop reciprocal investment ties with Taiwan, on the same basis as has the United States.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

TAIWAN CLOSELY MONITORING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

TAIPEI, Taiwan (July 26, 1999 – PACNEWS/Taiwan News Agency)---Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is reported to be closely monitoring possible official changes in the newly forged diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

According to the Taiwanese News Agency, MOFA officials said the political situation in PNG remains unstable and it is still hard to predict the challenges that lie ahead for the new PNG Government led by Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta.

The remarks came hard on the heels of foreign wire service reports that Sir Mekere had reviewed various documents linked to the establishment of diplomatic ties with Taipei by former Prime Minister Bill Skate, and found them to be invalid since normal procedures for opening diplomatic relations with other countries were allegedly not followed.

The foreign media also reported that Sir Mekere faxed a statement to journalists saying his Government will return to PNG's original "one China" policy, which recognizes the Beijing regime as the sole ruler of China.

Skate clinched the controversial deal with Taipei early this month, just two days before his sudden resignation. The diplomatic deal was signed after Taiwan reportedly agreed to provide $AUS 4 billion ($US 2.58 billion) in soft loans to PNG.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province.

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