There will be no Chinese military base: Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
Honiara, Solomon Islands Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 07:37 PM(IST)

This handout picture released by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, shows Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (R) presenting a gift to the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong in Solomon Islands' capital city Honiara. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Helping to assuage concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in the Pacific region, Sogavare told Australia’s new Foreign Minister Penny Wong that Canberra remains the country’s first partner of choice in matters of security and development

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said there will not be any Chinese military base on its territory.

Helping to assuage concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in the Pacific region, Sogavare told Australia’s new Foreign Minister Penny Wong that Canberra remains the country’s first partner of choice in matters of security and development. 

“We’ve talked a lot about being part of the Pacific family and we mean it,” Wong told reporters in Honiara. 

“Australia’s view does remain that the Pacific family should be responsible for our security, and the Pacific family is more than capable of providing that security.”

To highlight the capabilities of Australian police, Wong visited a riot-hit community in the Solomon Islands and spoke with disadvantaged youth to work in Canberra under a new visa programme.

In a sign of Beijing’s intensifying competition with the US and Australia for influence, several of Wong's trips have coincided with a rare week-long trip to the region by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Also read | Chinese foreign minister arrives in Solomon Islands, all eyes on the recent pact

The security agreement between the Solomons and China, which underscored a fraying relationship between Canberra and Honiara, was a major diplomatic victory for Beijing and its first such deal in the Pacific.

In a major setback for China, its plan to sign a sweeping trade and security deal with 10 Pacific Island countries was shelved because they expressed concern about specific elements in the proposal.
 

(With inputs from agencies)

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