Morrison arrives in Honiara

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By EDDIE OSIFELO

The Australian and Solomon Islands Prime Ministers together with RSIPF Commissioner on the dais.

AUSTRALIA 30th Prime Minister Scott John Morrison, 51 years old, had arrived in Honiara on board a Royal Australia Air Force plane yesterday.

His less than 24 hour visit comes after his re-election on May 18 this year.

Morrison is the second Australia PM to visit Honiara after Kevin Rudd in 2008.

Scot and his wife, Jenny were welcomed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his wife, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jeremiah Manele, Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers and Special Secretary to PM, Albert Kabui.

Morrison and Sogavare were escorted to the dice to honour the national anthems of both countries respectively played by the Royal Solomon Islands Police band.

They were then escorted to inspect the RSIP officers on the tarmac.

Morrison spent few minutes listening to the tune of the Wouraha panpipe group of West Are Are before he and his wife boarded an escort vehicle to the hotel down town.

The Liberal MP and conservative who favours businesses is expected to visit the Prime Minister Office, observe a guard of honour by Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIPF) at Rove, Memorial Garden, Solomon Islands Football Federation and a school before he left the country this evening.

However, international media said climate change, China influence in Pacific and security are some of the agendas he will discuss with Sogavare.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) states Morrison is expected to make announcements building on the themes of the Pacific step-up: economic development, infrastructure, labour mobility and tackling shared security challenges.

Australia Broadcasting Cooperation (ABC) said the visit of Morrison is more than the China issue because Solomon Islands is facing a lot of development challenges.

According to Lowy Institute Pacific Islands program director Jonathan Pryke, who told ABC this week that the best thing Morrison could do during his meeting with Mr Sogavare is sit and listen.

Andrew Clark Senior Writer of Financial Review wrote that Morrison’s first post-election overseas visit to the troubled Solomon Islands underlines the Morrison government’s promotion of close links with the Pacific neighbourhood, and scarcely concealed agenda of preventing China from converting small island states in the region – like Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Solomon Islands – into, sort of, Beijing-aligned, static aircraft carriers through the establishment of naval bases.

Morrison will visit London to meet British economic and security officials before representing Australia at the 75th-anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth on June 5.

World leaders including outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are attending the event as well.

Morrison has two daughters and is the first Pentecostal Prime Minister in Australia.

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