Australia’s miracle man Prime Minister Scomo to meet Solomon Islands’ own miracle Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare
By Alfred Sasako
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister, dubbed Scomo (Scott Morrison) the miracle politician who against all odds won a resounding victory at the recent election, will visit Honiara on Sunday.
The visit, reported on the front page of The Australian newspaper, is being seen as an extension of Washington’s fight to keep China out of the Pacific.
It is Mr Morrison’s first overseas visit after his re-election, which has been described as a miracle as the victory went against poll predictions which suggested the Australian Labor Party (ALP) was going to win.
The Australian newspaper said the stop-over visit was motivated by China’s attempt to persuade Solomon Islands to sever its ties with Taiwan and warnings by the United States that Chinese interference in the Pacific is leading to “the possibility of conflict.”
Prime Minister Morrison is on his way to London for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
His meeting with Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Sunday is expected to cover the One China policy. Mr Morrison is also expected to inform his Solomon Islands’ counterpart that Australia and the United States are against Solomon Islands recognising Mainland China.
The Sogavare Government remains divided on the China-Taiwan issue. There are indications that many in government are supporting the move to sever ties with Taiwan. They are working from within to make the change happen.
The pressure from within was so intense, Taiwanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands reportedly ended up in hospital in Honiara over the issue. He later left for Taipei on special leave.
Prime Minister Morrison may have a hard time convincing the Government about the One China policy since Canberra and Washington have offered no alternative in terms of economic development in Solomon Islands.
Nevertheless, the visit to Honiara fulfills a promise of a fresh focus on the country’s Pacific “step up”. Since his re-election Prime Minister Morrison has appointed his closest ally and numbers man Alex Hawke to lead a frontbench ministry focused on the Pacific region.