PM ASSURES REGION

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Pacific Islands Forum Leaders who attended the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting before the retreat yesterday
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‘I say it again: there’ll be no Chinese military base’

BY BEN BILUA
Suva, Fiji

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says there is no mention of military base to be built in Solomon Islands in the China/Solomon Islands Security Agreement.

He made the statement during a press conference yesterday morning with foreign and regional journalists.

“Let me assure you all again, there is no military base, no military facility and institution in the agreement and this is a very important point that we need to reiterate to other family in the region.

“And I’ve said before and I will say it again, it’s not Solomon Islands interest nor in the interest of the region for any military base to be established in any country in the pacific, let alone Solomon Islands,” Sogavare said.

“The moment we establish foreign military base, we immediately become an enemy and we also put our country and our people as targets for potential military strikes and Solomon Islands government will never allow our country and people to become military targets,” he added.

Sogavare said his government has come out clean before and now that there is no mention of building a Chinese Military based in the agreement.

He said the security agreement is in line with broader definition of security mentioned in the Boe Declaration which identifies issues like climate change, natural disasters and pandemics among other issues as national security threats to Solomon Islands.

Sogavare explained that the agreement was a sovereign decision and that does not mean that Solomon Islands is trying to bring division among Pacific Islands.

“But we also appreciate that Solomon Islands is part of Pacific Family, so we have ensured the agreement does not in any way undermine the security of the region and that is very important to us as part of the Pacific Family and we also concern of the security of each member of the pacific family.

“We have actually dispatched our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Police to Fiji in May and met with leaders of the Pacific and partners based in Fiji to clarify Solomon Islands relationship with China and of course the region,” he said.


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