HONIARA (SOLOMON STAR/ISLAND SUN) —The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Collin Beck says Solomon Islands remains committed to the United States (US).

Beck was speaking at a press conference in response to a question on whether Solomon Islands will be changing its stance on the security pact with China, given that is what the U.S government is demanding.

Beck said the discussion has already happened, and Solomon Islands has clarified its position in relation to the treaty arrangement security cooperation we have with China.

“We have a very good relationship with the United States given the understanding that have been established as the Prime Minister, and the government have been meeting with the United State National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell,” he said.

He told the local journalists that U.S has respect Solomon Islands sovereign decision towards the bilateral security cooperation we have with China.

“As alluded to by the Prime Minister security arrangement we have with China was similar on what we have with Australia.

“Therefore, the treaty if we revoke it, it will be triggered by Solomon Islands on our own call, and it will be done as a last resort,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, the recently signed security agreement with China is not about defending our ‘sovereignty’, but weakening it.

That’s according to East Are’Are MP Peter Kenilorea Junior. He was speaking in parliament  last week.

A leaked draft of the agreement indicates Beijing can deploy forces to “protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands”.

Kenilorea said the sovereignty means we look after our own security.

“We know that Chinatown is a big target every time of a political issues.

“We need to build a big police station there, put our policeman there, that’s the sovereign actions we can take,” he said.

“Train our police, recruit more, that is sovereignty at work.

“Not signing agreement with other people, allowing them to come here with arms.

“That is not sovereignty, that is weakening our sovereignty,” he added.

“What is wrong with the MOUs with the ministries to allow capacity building and trainings?

“I don’t see such an open-ended agreement benefiting the Solomon Islands.

“Not at all, all it does as far as I’m aware we are poking a super power who are awaken,” he added.

“I am hearing people we are doing this for leverage.

“You don’t run a country’s cordial relationship by leveraging each other. If this is the policy of the government, please get rid of it,” he said.

Kenilorea gave an example of the arrest of American fishing vessel, Janette Dian fishing illegally on Solomon Islands Exclusive Economic Zone as defending the sovereignty.

Parliament has been adjourned to Monday 18 July 2022….PACNEWS

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