Australia Calls on Solomon Islands to Dump Security Deal with Beijing

The Australian government has “respectfully” asked Solomon Islands leaders not to sign a contentious security agreement with Beijing that could open the door for troops and naval ships to be stationed in the region.The deal, which was “initialled” on March 31 between Chinese Ambassador Li Ming, and Solomons’ Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Collin Beck, has sparked a flurry of diplomatic activity from Australian and U.S. officials. “We have asked the Solomon Islands respectfully to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks,” Australia’s Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said in a statement on April 14 after dropping election campaigning a day earlier to rush to the Solomons to convince leaders to opt-out of the deal. “We welcome recent statements from Prime Minister (Manasseh) Sogavare that Australia remains Solomon Islands security partner of choice and his commitment that the Solomon Islands will never be used for military bases or other military institutions of foreign powers,” he added, later revealing to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he had “frank” discussions with the prime minister. I’ve landed in Honiara to discuss the strong & enduring relationship

Australia Calls on Solomon Islands to Dump Security Deal with Beijing

The Australian government has “respectfully” asked Solomon Islands leaders not to sign a contentious security agreement with Beijing that could open the door for troops and naval ships to be stationed in the region.

The deal, which was “initialled” on March 31 between Chinese Ambassador Li Ming, and Solomons’ Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Collin Beck, has sparked a flurry of diplomatic activity from Australian and U.S. officials.

“We have asked the Solomon Islands respectfully to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks,” Australia’s Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said in a statement on April 14 after dropping election campaigning a day earlier to rush to the Solomons to convince leaders to opt-out of the deal.

“We welcome recent statements from Prime Minister (Manasseh) Sogavare that Australia remains Solomon Islands security partner of choice and his commitment that the Solomon Islands will never be used for military bases or other military institutions of foreign powers,” he added, later revealing to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that he had “frank” discussions with the prime minister.