Picture of Manasseh Sogavare (Solomon Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website)

HONIARA, 03 OCTOBER 2019 (ISLAND SUN) —Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare tried to bypass diplomatic protocol on Monday by ordering the Governor General to receive an unknown Chinese person as China’s Ambassador to Solomon Islands, it is reported.

Speaking to Island Sun on condition of anonymity, senior officials within the Prime Minister’s Office, say early afternoon on Monday Prime Minister Sogavare instructed Government House to immediately receive “China’s ambassador to Solomon Islands”.

Government House refused. Sources say Prime Minister Sogavare was “furious, fuming mad” at Government House’s decision not to receive the Chinese Official.

Sources say Government House’s refusal to adhere to Sogavare’s order is the only reason why this “non-protocol” ceremony did not take place. Government House could not be contacted for comments.

When contacted last night, Press Secretariat to the Prime Minister said he “cannot confirm that”.

Meanwhile, sources tell Island Sun that the unknown Chinese official was sent by Beijing, and did not have any formal documents, which is part of diplomatic protocol for such appointments.

Sources from PMO said that because of the unavailability of any formal documents, the Government House refused to organise the ceremony.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAET) was also left out of this secret plan by Sogavare, sources said.

“Another reason why Government House refused Sogavare’s instructions is there was no official representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs present,” PMO sources say.

“There was no diplomatic note on hand and there was even no credentials provided for the appointment to be based on.

“These are very important requirements that have to be in place before the Governor General can receive foreign diplomats.”

Island Sun contacted a senior official of MFAET last night, who corroborated the story, saying they are not aware of any Chinese Ambassador designate to the Solomon Islands who is already here, nor of any ceremony in which the ambassador would hand over credentials to the Governor General.

“That is news to me or my office. Should it be true then I would be shaking my head with disbelief at what Prime Minister Sogavare has become,” the MFAET official said.

Sources say, “This unfortunate happening only point to the fact that the Prime Minister has no respect for due process, even in diplomatic matters.”

It is peculiar why Prime Minister Sogavare should rush this very important diplomatic event, and in such a secretive manner. More so, it is mind blowing that he continues to ignore due process.

Mainland China still does not have a formal office in the country, 11 days into its marriage with the Solomon Islands. (PACNEWS)