Pacific island nations’ leaders sought clarity from the Solomon Islands regarding its security deal with China, President Surangel Whipps Jr. told reporters on Wednesday.
He however said after Pacific Islands Forum leaders met with the Solomon Island leader they believe that “Solomon Islands was being very transparent with what their intentions were.”
The president did not share details about the discussion regarding the security pact , but stressed that Solomon Islands security agreement with China is a “ a sovereign decision by the Solomon Islands, and we respect their sovereignty.”
He said that the security pact was a concern raised during his meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and officials in Washington.
He said transparency is important that leaders in the region are on the same page in ensuring freedom and democracy.
“I think during those meetings that we had with a foreign minister or even in the US, we did not know the details of the agreement. And I think what’s most important is transparency and working together as a region to ensure that we continue to maintain freedom and democracy in our region,” Whipps said.
Several nations that include Australia and the United States expressed concerns that the fact include increasing the military presence of China in the region.
Whipps said it was important to have that dialogue with the Solomon Islands “to make sure that we’re on the same track and that we don’t escalate any unnecessary risk to the region.” (Island Times)