MEDIA STATEMENT: Joint Statement on Solomon Islands

Australia is deeply disappointed by the signing of a security cooperation agreement between Solomon Islands and China, announced by the Chinese Government.

We respect Solomon Islands’ right to make sovereign decisions about its national security.

Our consistently stated view, including from the perspective of Australia’s national interests,  remains that the Pacific family is best placed to meet the security needs of the region.

We are concerned about the lack of transparency with which this agreement has been developed, noting its potential to undermine stability in our region. We continue to seek further clarity on the terms of the agreement, and its consequences for the Pacific region.

We welcome recent statements from Prime Minister Sogavare that Australia is Solomon Islands security partner of choice, and his commitment that Solomon Islands will never be used for military bases or other military institutions of foreign powers.

Australia is consulting the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency in a manner consistent with our regional security frameworks.

Through RAMSI and again in response to the recent unrest, the Pacific family has always supported the Solomon Islands to address their security needs. We will continue to strongly encourage the Solomon Islands to engage in regional dialogue and to work with the Pacific family first, including prior to seeking security assistance from China under this arrangement.

[ENDS] 

 

Senator the Hon Marise Payne 
Minister for Foreign Affairs 
Minister for Women

Senator the Hon Zed Seselja 
Minister for International Development and the Pacific