Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne meets with Solomon Islands counterpart for first time since China security deal signed

Payne met with Jeremiah Manele overnight as he travelled through Brisbane.

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2019. (AP)

“Australia has been consistent and clear in stating our respect for Solomon Islands’ sovereign decision-making, however we have reiterated our deep concerns about the security agreement with China, including the lack of transparency,” Payne said in a statement.

“I again reinforced this in my meeting tonight.

“We agreed that Australia remains Solomon Islands’ security partner of choice.”

Marise Payne has met with her Solomon Islands counterpart.
Marise Payne has met with her Solomon Islands counterpart. (Alex Ellinghausen)

“I again welcomed Prime Minister Sogavare’s assurance that Solomon Islands will not be used for a foreign military base.

“Australia will always work constructively and respectfully with our Pacific family.”

The meeting was welcomed by opposition leader Anthony Albanese.

“It’s about time,” he said.

Anthony Albanese sorts through jars of jam on the campaign trail in Launceston.
Anthony Albanese sorts through jars of jam on the campaign trail in Launceston. (Alex Ellinghausen)

He said he was not aware if shadow foreign minister Penny Wong was invited to the meeting, but said it would have been appropriate under caretaker mode rules which the government operates under during election campaigns.

The meeting came several days after Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said his country was being “threatened with invasion”.

“We are being treated as kindergarten students walking around with Colt 45s in our hands, and therefore we need to be supervised,” he told his country’s parliament.

“We are insulted, Mr Speaker.”

Earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison described China building a military base on the Solomon Islands as a “red line”.

Reference-www.9news.com.au

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.