Soon after returning from a weeklong trip to China, Solomon Island’s prime minister Monday slammed what he called “interference of foreign states in the internal affairs” of Solomon Islands.
Manasseh Sogavare was responding to “concerns” expressed by Australia and the US over the law-enforcement cooperation agreement between Solomon Islands and China, ABC News reported.
"The narrow and coercive diplomatic approach of targeting China-Solomon Islands relations, and I want to use this word, is unneighborly … this is nothing but interference of foreign states in the internal affairs of Solomon Islands," said Sogavare, addressing a news conference in Honiara on Monday.
In case of any disorder on the island nation, he said, there was “nothing” in his way to stop him from seeking police help from China if Solomon Island’s neighboring nations delay their response.
Solomon Islands has a "standing arrangement" with China, said Sogavare, adding: "If there was a delay getting help then it takes only nine hours' flight from China to land forces here."
"Nothing is actually stopping me from that if there are some hiccups along the way," he said.
"We can invoke our security arrangements. Nothing will stop this sovereign country," he added.
Top police officials of China and the Solomon Islands, Wang Xiaohong and Anthony Veke, met in Beijing last Wednesday to discuss bilateral security and law implementation issues.
Sogavare also accused Australia and New Zealand of allegedly backtracking from financial commitments made with the Solomon Islands.
“Some of our donor partners who have committed to providing budget support to us this year have since changed their position and delayed their assistance for us and we are struggling to finance the 2023 budget," he said.
Canberra, however, has denied such allegations.
Sogavare said that Beijing has pledged support through "projects" to the Solomon Islands. He did not share any details on such projects.
The island’s prime minister led a delegation on a weeklong official trip to China in which the two sides upgraded their bilateral ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership.”
The two sides signed at least nine documents, including one regarding an “implementation plan” on police cooperation – the pact that runs through 2025.
"China has not invaded or colonized any other nation-state. Australia and the United States should not fear China's police support,” said Sogavare.
Canberra has expressed concern that the deal “will invite regional contest” in the Pacific.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.