China’s skeptical leader of the largest province of the Solomon Islands replaced | Politics News

Daniel Suidani was known for his support for Taiwan, even after Honiara switched diplomatic allegiance to Beijing.

Daniel Suidani, a vocal critic of China and head of the Solomon Islands’ largest province, has been removed from office after a vote of no confidence in the provincial legislature, Australian public broadcaster ABC reports.

Lawmakers triggered the vote after accusing Suidani, the premier of the Pacific island nation’s Malaita province, of embezzling funds, according to ABC.

His supporters gathered in small numbers in the provincial capital Auki at the time of the vote, where they were met by riot police.

ABC said Suidani, who was not in the provincial assembly, lost the vote after 17 members voted against him.

Suidani has long criticized Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s decision to switch diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2019.

He rejected Chinese investment in his province and held numerous public events to celebrate the arrival of Taiwanese aid shipments to Malaita during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the aid was not approved by Sogavare’s government.

Suidani’s continued support for Taipei brought him into direct conflict with the Solomon Islands’ One China policy and led to an increasingly bitter and public conflict between him and Sogavare.

In 2021, anger over the central government’s handling of Malaita and the Solomon Islands’ approach to Beijing led to unrest in Honiara, located on the neighboring island of Guadalcanal.

Rioters targeted buildings and businesses in the capital’s Chinatown and at least three people were killed before calm was restored with the help of Australian police.

Last April, it emerged that Sogavare had signed a security pact with China, raising alarm in Australia and elsewhere.

The United States is stepping up its engagement in the Pacific amid China’s growing influence.

Last month, the US reopened its embassy in Honiara.

He closed the mission in 1993.

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