Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, has asked Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to consider not signing the Draft Security Agreement with China.
"We have asked Solomon Islands respectfully to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with our region’s security frameworks,” Seselja said.
He says for many years, Australia has stood strongly as a partner and a friend of Solomon Islands.
"Australia has worked with our Pacific family to support Solomon Islands, including as part of the Solomons International Assistance Force (SIAF), and earlier through the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.
"We are proud that SIAF responded swiftly and effectively to restore calm in Honiara following civil unrest in November 2021, at Solomon Islands’ request, and under the direction of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
"We welcome recent statements from Prime Minister Sogavare that Australia remains 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."
He says Australia’s commitment to working with Solomon Islands on its security needs is to do so swiftly, transparently and with full respect for its sovereignty.
He adds that Australia remains firmly of the view that the Pacific family will always meet the security needs of our region.
The draft security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China contained clauses that could allow Chinese forces to protect Chinese investments in Solomons and for China to request its navy ships be allowed to dock and refuel less than 2000 kilometres off the Australian coast.