Manele defends Sino-SI security pact

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MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Jeremiah Manele has rejected any notion that the security treaty with China calls or provides for the establishment of a PRC military or naval base.

This came after some Solomon Islands traditional partners, members of United Nation, talked about a ‘red line’ and ‘responding appropriately’ should China set up a military base in Solomon Islands.

There are even talk of invasion of Solomon Islands by the international media.

Speaking on the motion to thank the Governor General on his speech to the throne in Parliament on Wednesday, Manele said “we are not stupid to ask for a military base as we ourselves could be a target for a military strike in the future in the event of an armed conflict between the major powers.”

He said the Solomon Islands Security Agreement with China reaffirms respect for Solomon Islands sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.

“The security agreement reinforces the foundation of peace, security and development.

“Security agreements are meant to grow peace through development,” he said.

Manele said it builds bridges of confidence, and removes sources of danger so that our people can keep investing to improve their quality of life.

He said it gives confidence to business houses and allows the nation of Solomon Islands to prosper.

Furthermore, Manele said Solomon Islands security cooperation with China does not undermine our security arrangements with Australia, or security cooperation with any other country.

He said actually it complements existing arrangements.

“The SI-PRC security agreement is a form of preventive diplomacy, in line with the 1997 Aitutaki Declaration.

“In other words, preventing the use of violence by some to uproot democratic processes and values.

“It prevents disputes from turning into conflict. It is peace keeping driven by the needs of the state,” he said.

Manele said the security cooperation agreement with China will not undermine regional security and stability.

“Having a stable Solomon Islands is also about securing stable and prosperous Pacific region,” he said.

Under the Aitutaki Declaration on Regional Cooperation, Leaders of the Pacific recognised that an adverse law enforcement environment could threaten the security, and economic integrity of Forum Members and jeopardize economic and social development. The Pacific has also identified climate change as the single greatest threat facing the region