SEOUL/HONIARA (SIBC) — Solomon Islands expressed reservations on an element of the outcome Declaration of the Korea-Pacific Islands Forum Summit in particular the reference to competing Strategy to the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific Continent adopted by Pacific Leaders in 2022, in Suva, Fiji.

The 2050 Strategy is the region’s collective voice and blue print in addressing the region’s challenges. It is built on the Pacific’s long history of working together. It frames the region’s priorities going into 2050.

“We urge the region to keep the Pacific Way as a principle of dialogue with all including with our partners. The 2050 Strategy of the Blue Continent guides the region’s decision-making process and collective action.

“The region must keep building consensus amongst ourselves and with our partners.   Unity and solidarity must be maintained, preserved and protected. Solomon Islands has adopted a position of not aligning itself with any competing Strategy that goes away from the spirit of regionalism articulated in the 2050 Strategy.

“Solomon Island’s regrettably continue to have difficulty with an element of the Korea – Pacific Forum Summit Declaration and does not like to see the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific compromised by examining other strategies even before we adopt our own Plan of Action of the 2050 Blue Pacific or review the Pacific regional architecture”.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare in his statement to the Summit reiterated Solomon Islands Foreign Policy of engagement “… Solomon Islands maintains its position of not supporting any policy or groups that targets a third country. We must remain focus on eradicating poverty and construct bridges of partners to build a stable, resilient and prosperous Pacific. We must replace confrontation with dialogue, unilateralism with cooperation and military solutions with diplomacy to ensure those on the fringes of the international system in the Pacific are meaningfully integrated into the global system.”

Solomon Islands will not stand in the way of the adoption of the Korea – Pacific Forum Summit Declaration but sadly cannot align with it. 

“We shall not be forced to take sides and participate in power politics. Solomon Islands as a country must and will always abide by its policy of friends to all and enemy to none. Solomon Islands does not support any alliances that targets a third country which is specifically mentioned under a competing strategy reflected in the Declaration.

“Solomon Islands urge the region to be vigilant in protecting the region’s collective interests and not reinterpret the 2050 Strategy by embracing external frameworks that needs more understanding on. We have declared the Pacific is in a state of emergency and must act as one under a common agenda, as one region, one people, one blue Pacific identity and one ocean, collectively supporting each other on shared agenda spelt out under the 2050 Strategy” said Sogavare.

Solomon Islands bilateral relations with the Republic of Korea remains warm and cordial. 

Prime Minister of Solomon Islands met with the President of the Republic of Korea and reaffirm Solomon Islands commitment to work with Korea on all issues of mutual interest that is based on the principle of mutual respect, equality and respect for each other’s sovereignty. 

Prime Minister Sogavare acknowledged Korea’s bilateral assistance to Solomon Islands over the years and look forward to a continuous fruitful relationship.

Sogavare has assured the Republic of Korea of Solomon Islands support towards its candidature for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council for the 2024-2025 term. 

Prime Minister Sogavare personally assured Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea in a bilateral meeting.  

“Multilaterally, rest assured of our support for the Republic of Korea’s candidature for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, we hope this could be reciprocated in 2032 for Solomon Islands UN Security Council candidature,” the Prime Minister said. 

Prime Minister Sogavare also congratulated the President of Korea for the excellent arrangement his government has put in place for the historic Summit. 

“I look forward to the engagement and stand ready to work with you on all issues of mutual concern.”

Sogavare said, Solomon Islands has one of the highest electricity costs in the world however, Korean Company, K- Water is Solomon Islands major partner on the Tina hydro project. The country is hopeful, once Tina hydro is operational, electricity cost will reduce, and more investors will be attracted to do business in the country.

“I would encourage more of such investment from Korea which could invest and connect more of our provinces to the grid,” he said.

He also acknowledged the Korean Government’s support to the Solomon Islands National University, especially the School of Fisheries construction. 

He said, Solomon Islands is sad that the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) who built SINU’s Fisheries school left the country in 2021 during the pandemic and hope in time KOICA will return to the Solomon Islands.

President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol informed Prime Minister Sogavare that it’s been 13 years since the last Prime Minister of Solomon Islands visited South Korea. President Yoon Suk Yeol also acknowledged Solomon Islands for such a gracious host for Korean companies including Eagon, Hyundai Kosol Company Ltd and K-Water Company. 

President Yoon Suk Yeol also conveyed his best wishes for the Solomon Islands’ successful hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games in November this year and pledge his support for the games. 

Solomon Islands looks forward to Korea’s support for the 2023 Pacific Games and thank Korea for its kind gesture…. PACNEWS

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