Japanese Minister Visits Solomon Islands to Discuss Security, Agreement with China

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Japan’s foreign minister met with Solomon Islands leaders on Sunday to discuss the controversial security pact that Beijing and the Pacific island nation signed last year, according to the Japanese government.

During a visit to Honiara, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manase Sogavare that Japan was “watching closely” the implications of the security pact.

According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they exchanged views on the global security environment, with Sogavare reiterating that “regional peace and security are of paramount importance” for his country.

Hayashi also shared Japan’s views on how Pacific island nations can achieve long-term development while remaining “independent,” the ministry said. statement.

To realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, Japan will work to promote “wide-ranging, transparent and inclusive cooperation” with Pacific island countries such as the Solomon Islands, he said. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation.

Chinese delegation

Following Mr. Lin’s visit, Chinese Ambassador to Solomon Islands Li Ming was reported to have announced that a delegation from Beijing’s foreign aid agency, the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), would visit the Solomon Islands next week.

CIDCA and the Solomon Islands government will sign a memorandum of understanding and exchange letters on sending local athletes to Beijing to prepare for the upcoming Pacific Games, Li Ming said, although the MOU did not elaborate on its purpose.

The delegation will also meet with Sogavare and meet with relevant ministries.

Sogavare told reporters he was looking forward to meeting with the CIDCA delegation to discuss “our strategic interests”. report.

China-Solomon Islands deal ‘woke up’ US

The Solomon Islands-China security pact, signed last April, has issued a warning between the United States and its allies that Beijing could use the deal to establish a military presence in the region. bottom.

According to the leaked draft agreement, Beijing “can deploy police (in China, military forces), military weapons, and naval vessels, with the consent of the Solomon Islands, to safeguard the security of Chinese personnel and major projects.” there is in the Solomon Islands. ”

Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Kentaro Uesugi visited the Solomon Islands after the signing of the agreement and conveyed Japan’s reservations regarding the agreement. At the time, Mr. Hayashi said the deal could have implications for “the security of the entire Asia-Pacific region.”

US Indo-Pacific commander Admiral John Aquilino said on March 16 that the security deal between Beijing and the Solomon Islands made the US aware of the need for better engagement with the Pacific island nations.

“We have recently seen some actions by China that could gain a foothold in the form of the Solomon Islands. report.

PRC is an acronym for the People’s Republic of China, the official name of China.

“I think a lot of us have woken up to make sure that we spend more time, get involved, and provide support and assistance to the Pacific islands,” he added. I think we’re back on track and we’re continuing to work on ways that are meaningful and useful for these countries.”

Aquilino emphasized that the United States only wants to ensure that the rules-based international order is maintained in the Indo-Pacific.

The Solomon Islands are a strategically important point in the Pacific Ocean. These are the major blocking island chains that restrict maritime movement in and out of the Australian region, not only for Australian trade but also for potential Australian naval assistance to Taiwan, U.S. assistance to Australia, or Chinese military assistance. restricts entry.

Daniel Y. Teng contributed to this report.



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