SOLOMON ISLANDS PM SOGAVARE IN TAIWAN

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (November 2, 2000 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has apologized to the government and people of Taiwan over recent misunderstandings resulting from a trip to Hong Kong by Foreign Minister Danny Philip.

At a ceremony in Taipei, Mr. Sogavare presented the Taiwanese Foreign Affairs Minister Ting-Hung Mao with traditional shell money or Tafuliae, as a sign of apology.

At the ceremony, described by a Solomon Islands diplomat in Taiwan as emotional and private, Mr. Sogavare apologized for the trip by his Foreign Minister early last month.

Mr. Sogavare said relations between the two countries must continue.

Mr. Sogavare earlier visited the Agriculture and Fisheries Council office in Taipei.

During the visit, Mr. Sogavare and his delegation were briefed on the success story of agriculture to Taiwan's economy.

Taiwan's agricultural practices were first introduced to the Solomon Islands under the Republic of China Agriculture demonstration farm, after the two countries formalized diplomatic relations in 1983.

Reports from Taipei say agriculture council members told Mr. Sogavare that the goal behind the demonstration farm is to help the Solomon Islands improve agricultural production.

Council Chairman Shi-Hun Cheng also briefed the delegation on the recent fisheries agreement signed between the Solomon Islands and the Taiwan Boat Owners Association.

Cheng said he is hopeful the agreement would benefit the two countries.

Meanwhile, in the Solomon Islands, the Premiers' Conference originally scheduled to be held in Buala next week has been postponed to November 13.

SIBC understands that Mr. Sogavare has directed that the conference be delayed a week because he wants to deliver the opening address after he returns from his visit to Taiwan.

The Buala Premiers' Conference is very significant because it will be during the conference that the proposal for the country to adopt the state system of government will be addressed.

Already some provinces, such as Western and Choiseul, have started working towards adopting the state system with the establishment of task forces responsible for various sectors of development.

* Representatives from the Solsearch company, which had applied for diamond prospecting in East Kwaio constituency on Malaita, met with Prime Minister Sogavare during his stay in Brisbane en route to Taiwan.

The company applied for a prospecting license in East Kwaio earlier this year.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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