Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands recently visited Beijing. On July 10 he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and signed nine agreements, including a law enforcement cooperation agreement, upgrading the relationship between the two countries to one of “comprehensive strategic partnership.” This was Sogavare’s first visit since the two countries reached a security agreement last year. In 2019, the island country established diplomatic ties with China and severed relations with Taiwan.
Last month, Sogavare called for a review of the Solomon Islands’ security treaty with Australia, which used to provide the country with policing assistance.
A joint statement between China and the Solomon Islands urged for caution in handling issues related to nuclear-contaminated water discharge and nuclear submarine cooperation, seemingly criticizing the AUKUS alliance involving Japan, Australia, the UK, and the US.
Sogavare also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 10. Xi said that China would support more investments in the Solomon Islands. Last year, the Solomon Islands received US $66 million in funcing from the Export-Import Bank of China, and telecommunications giant Huawei was contracted to build 161 telecommunication towers on the islands.
The two countries reached agreements in various fields, including civil aviation, trade, economy, technology, and sports. China will construct the stadium used for the 2023 Pacific Games scheduled to be held in Solomon Islands’ capital city Honiara this November.
Source: Epoch Times, July 11, 2023