Solomon Islands’ Leader Urges US and Australia to Respect Its Sovereignty
Manasseh Sogavare, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, accused the United States and Australia of interfering in his country’s affairs. These remarks came in response to calls by both nations for the Solomon Islands to make public its recent police cooperation agreement with China.
Prime Minister Sogavare returned home on Monday following an official week-long visit to China, his second such visit since his country switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019.
Sogavare, while addressing reporters at the international airport outside Honiara, expressed his discontent over the external pressure, particularly the targeted criticism on the China-Solomon Islands relations. He labelled it as “unneighborly” and disrespectful towards the established international principles under the United Nations Charter. He emphasized, “This is nothing but interference by foreign states into the internal affairs of Solomon Islands.”
International Concern Over the China-Solomon Islands Policing Pact
During Sogavare’s visit, China and the Solomon Islands signed nine agreements, one of which pertained to police cooperation. The pact caught international attention and triggered concerns about potential implications for regional stability. In the past week, the United States, Australia, and even the Solomon Islands’ opposition leader have called for the policing pact to be made public.
Despite the international pressure, Sogavare reiterated that there was nothing for the United States or Australia to fear from the police cooperation agreement with China. In his interviews with Chinese state media, he praised China’s international diplomacy, including its “wonderful” global security initiative, and maintained that the country posed no threat to others.
Expressing his country’s aspirations, Sogavare said, “All I want is for our beloved country to develop.” He then voiced his country’s longstanding grievances about the perceived neglect it has suffered since gaining independence forty-five years ago. Asserting his country’s sovereignty, he said, “We are not anyone’s backyard. We are a sovereign country and we want to be treated with respect, as equals.”
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