Solomon Islands PM: Foreign military sites are ‘never allowed’
Manasseh Sogavare stated that he will not do anything to undermine national security or threaten regional stability.
Manasseh Sogavare, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, has stated that no foreign military installations will be built in his country. This apparent reference is to a security agreement he had signed with China earlier this month.
According to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Sogavare spoke during a meeting in Canberra with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
According to a SIBC report, Sogavare stated that the Solomon Islands would not do anything that could undermine its national security or jeopardize the security of any or all countries (Pacific Island Forum),” Sogavare reported on Friday.
The prime minister stated that the Solomon Islands would not be used to support foreign military installations or institutions.
“About China, we discussed this sensitive issue yesterday and I assured Australia that such a thing would not happen when I met with Anthony Albanese yesterday.”
Sogavare previously stated that China would be allowed to build wharves or airports. This could be used for both civilian and military purposes.
Australia, New Zealand, and the United States expressed increasing concern that China would establish a military base in their region of the Pacific.
Tensions between Honiara, Canberra, and Canberra grew when Sogavare attacked an offer from Australia to finance the next Solomons’ election. Australia offered to finance the election to avoid a delay in voting. Sogavare stated that this was necessary because Australia was unable to fund both the Pacific Games and the next election.
Sogavare dismissed Canberra’s offer of interference but later accepted it.
“Friends to all, enemies to none”
Albanese’s office issued a joint statement after the meeting, in which the leaders stated that they had discussed bilateral relations, the climate crisis, and their “shared aspirations to a peaceful, prosperous, and resilient Pacific.”
Sogavare’s trip to Australia follows shortly after US President Joe Biden and 14 Pacific island countries issued a joint declaration to strengthen partnership, despite Washington’s offer to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in new aid to the region.
This declaration was made after a two-day high-profile summit between US and Pacific island leaders in Washington. Analysts said that it was an attempt to curb China’s increasing influence on the Pacific islands.
Jeremiah Manele (Simons’ foreign minister) said this week that he was uncomfortable with indirect references to China in the draft of the US-Pacific Partnership declaration.
After earlier declaring that it would not sign, the Solomon Islands signed the document.
In September, Sogavare stated to the United Nations that Beijing had been “vilified.”
On Friday, the SIBC report noted that the premier stated his national development plan for the Solomon Islands was based upon a foreign policy of “friends to all and foes to none”.
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