Law-enforcement cooperation promotes stability in Solomon Islands: China
Beijing’s comment comes as implementation of police cooperation triggers criticism
Defending the law-enforcement cooperation agreement with Solomon Islands, China Wednesday said it promotes the stability of the island nation.
“The law-enforcement cooperation has played a positive role in promoting the security and stability of the Solomon Islands,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry.
He added signing of the law-enforcement cooperation agreement between China and Solomon Islands “is in line with relevant international laws and conventions,” Beijing-based Global Times reported.
China and Solomon Islands on Monday upgraded bilateral ties during Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s official trip to Beijing.
The two sides signed at least nine documents, including one regarding an “implementation plan” on police cooperation – the pact that runs through 2025.
Wang said China “firmly supports Solomon Islands in achieving long-term stability and it will continue to provide support and assistance within its capacity based on the needs and wishes of Solomon Islands.”
Solomon Islands shifted diplomatic relations to Beijing from Taiwan in 2019.
The two sides signed a security deal in April last year, sparking criticism from Washington and its allies Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.
Washington claimed that China is aiming to set up a military base there.
Beijing and Solomon Islands have dismissed claims by the US and its allies.
Solomon Islands, however, has assured neighbors that it will not allow any foreign military installation.
During Sogavare’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, the two sides jointly announced the official establishment of a “comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development for a new era.”
A joint statement released after Xi’s meeting with Sogavare read the Chinese side “will continue to provide support and help to Solomon Islands as needed in strengthening Solomon Islands’ police law enforcement capacity.”
“The two sides agreed to step up protection of the safety and lawful rights and interests of each other’s nationals and institutions in their countries,” it added.
The visiting premier also opened the Solomon Islands’ embassy in Beijing.
Reacting to the new police pact between China and the Solomon Islands, the Australian government urged the two nations to “immediately” publish details of the plan.
Canberra expressed concern the deal “will invite regional contest” in the Pacific, ABC News reported.