Vice President Michael Pence poses for his official portrait at The White House, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

HONIARA, 16 SEPTEMBER 2019 (ISLAND SUN) — Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has received a phone call from the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence, inviting him to a bilateral meeting in the margin of the UN General Assembly.

Island Sun was reliably informed of the phone call, which was reportedly made last week.

It is believed that the issue of whether we should switch recognition from Taiwan to China will be the main agenda of the proposed meet.

However, according to Taipei (Taiwan News), if Sogavare pushes the switch through earlier than the meeting, then the US vice president would only be able to voice Washington’s opinions on the issue, as it would be too late to turn the situation around in Taiwan’s favour.

Sogavare leaves later this week for the UNGA.

Cabinet and Caucus will today hold a special meeting, in which the decision to switch to China will be made, according to sources speaking to Island Sun on condition of anonymity.

It was announced last week on Friday after the bi-partisan taskforce had submitted their report to Cabinet and Caucus that the report would be discussed on Tuesday, September 17, [tomorrow].

However, on Saturday it was decided instead that a special meeting be held today [Monday, Sept 16] to discuss the report.

Sources say the decision to switch to China will be made today by cabinet, and announcement most likely made today or Wednesday.

The bi-partisan taskforce’s report, which was published by Island Sun yesterday, has been widely criticised as biased, misleading and filled with lies.

The report recommends that Solomon Islands switches recognition to China. It further strongly suggests that the switch be made before October 1 to coincide with the Independence anniversary of mainland China.

This demand to switch before China’s 70th anniversary is seen by Solomon Islands public as a confirmation of their fears of China’s dictatorial nature.

In Peter Kenilorea Jnr’s media statement, he points out that this is a bad omen for Solomon Islands should Sogavare continue with his desire to choose mainland China.

“As a patriotic Solomon Islander I am deeply concerned to see that the decision to switch now is dictated by China’s time table.

“The first recommendation of the BTF’s report states that the switch ‘must happen before the 1st October 2019, to coincide with the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the founding of (communist) China’.

“I am concerned because we are not marching to our own beat on this matter. We are in fact marching to China’s beat.

“We are being dictated by China already – even before we switch.

“This is an ominous sign of things to come in a relationship I have constantly stated that we as a nation, with our weak governance structures, struggling institutions, and structural handicap, are not ready for a switch now.”

The bi-partisan taskforce’s pro-China report comes as no surprise since the members are known pro-China MPs.

Criticisms of the taskforce began pouring into social media when the composition of the taskforce was made known to public in June this year.

The taskforce members were already known supporters of Beijing even before they began their task of reviewing our relation with Taiwan. (PACNEWS)