BY BEN BILUA
ASSISTANT Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at the US Department of State Daniel Kritenbrink says United States will respond if steps were taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation in the country.
He made the statement during a Teleconference with journalists on Tuesday.
Mr Kritenbrink said the United States will keep a close eye for any developments in consultation with regional partners.
“We have noted their assurances that they’ve stated to us and to others, and we’ve indicated that we’ll continue to monitor the situation closely and continue to engage with them going forward.
“We outlined clear areas of concern with respect to the purpose and scope of the agreement.
“We made clear that we respect the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands but at the same time, we also tried to make clear that there are potential implications to the decisions that the Solomon Islands makes, and those implications could impact the security interests of the United States and our partners, and we wanted to be crystal-clear about what that may mean,” he said.
Kritenbrink said there will be further consultations between Solomon Islands and the United States to discuss in greater detail security issues of mutual concern, economic and social development, public health, and finance and debt.
He stressed that such High-level strategic dialogue aimed at enhancing communication, address mutual concerns, and drive practical progress.
Kritenbrink said United States relationship with the Solomon Islands is bigger than security agreement.