FRC Chair vs PM on severing Taiwan

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has described as “absurd” the statement made by Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) regarding the China-Taiwan saga.

In a statement yesterday, Prime Minister Sogavare said the notion that FRC has the mandate and power to severe diplomatic ties is absurd, implying that establishing new diplomatic ties must first go through the FRC for approval.

He said, as both a qualified lawyer and former Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Peter Kenilorea Junior should know well that any such decision will always come from the Executive arm of government.

Mr. Sogavare explains, there are three arms of Government; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, each with separate roles and functions.

He said each Arm cannot overlap the other nor can they dictate what an Arm can or cannot do.

The Prime Minister said, FRC is a creature of the Standing Orders of the National Parliament pursuant to Standing Order 71B, meaning it is a creature of the Legislature and its mandate is derived from the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Standing Order 71B which establishes the FRC clearly provides that it can only “examine and make observations and recommendations” – the ambit of FRC powers.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s statement regarding inquiry into the severing of existing ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) by the Foreign Relations Committee is a total misrepresentation.

Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Hon. Peter Kenilorea Junior made the comments in his response to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s statement today.

He says the statement by the Prime Minister is a total misrepresentation of what he as Chair of the FRC has publicly stated on the issue.

Hon. Kenilorea said an attempt to tarnish his credentials on international matters and understanding of government processes by the Prime Minister is an attempt in cheap politics that may work on some but not on him saying, such condescending political approaches are outdated.

Mr. Kenilorea said he is well aware of the FRC’s role and besides, examining and observing, his Committee can only recommend to Parliament.

He said following their inquiry, what happens thereon to the report is in the hands of parliament and the executive branch of government saying, FRC will not usurp the powers and functions of other arms of government.

In this particular issue, Mr. Kenilorea said his committee has agreed to make an inquiry into the question of ‘severing of existing ties’ with a traditional partner.

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