SOLOMONS ISLANDS TO HOST TAIWAN-PACIFIC SUMMIT

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October meeting likely ‘low key’ as Taiwan courts China

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Times, April 23, 2009) -Solomon Islands will host the Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit on 20 October.

Taiwan Times quotes Solomon Islands Ambassador Beraki Jino as saying Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou will head his country's delegation to the summit.

It would be President Ma's first substantive trip overseas to meet diplomatic allies.

President Ma had declared a diplomatic truce with China as part of efforts to prevent Beijing from seeking to woo more of Taiwan's allies.

Last year's summit was cancelled as President Ma courted China.

A political science professor at Chang Jung Christian University in Tainan, Shane Lee, said he thinks the summit will be very low key.

Mr. Lee said Ma is trying to show goodwill to China, so he does not want to emphasize the sovereignty of Taiwan.

Mr. Jino said South Pacific allies, some of which are struggling with substandard health care systems and the threat of being swallowed by rising seas because of global warming, will ask Taiwan to make its positions clear and break new ground in the region.

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