PM meets Australia’s intel chief

PRIME Minister Rick Hou has been briefed on the South Pacific Intelligence Dialogue which will be held in Honiara in June this year.

Prime Minister Hou was briefed during a meeting with the Director General of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service Mr Paul Symon at the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet yesterday.

Symon, a retired Major General in the Australian military, is one of the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s intelligence advisers.

He was appointed a Head of ASIS in December 2017.

Symon briefed the Prime Minister on the 1st South Pacific Intelligence Dialogue (SPID) which was held in Fiji last year which was launched by Fiji Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama.

The Director General also informed the Prime Minister that the 2nd SPID will be held in Honiara in June this year which Prime Minister Hou has been given the honour to officially open.

Hou in response, welcomed the initiative for Solomon Islands to host the 2nd SPID, citing that such meeting is crucial given the similarities in security concerns faced in the region.

During the meeting, Hou also informed Symon of the challenges faced with national security in the country which included the PNG/SI border, confidentiality of information, cyber security and financial intelligence to name a few.

“I believe we do have a national intelligence committee in the country but it has been operating on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, there is a need to establish a proper institution to address these issues,” he said.

Hou however, has acknowledged the Police Commissioner and the RSIPF for their ongoing work in providing intelligence to the Government.

Symon acknowledged the challenges shared by Hou and assured the Prime Minister that these issues would also form the basis of discussions in June this year.

Symon said some of the real challenges is the question of how best government agencies can cooperate and coordinate in providing the best intelligence advice and information to Government leaders to enable our leaders to make informed decisions.


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