The Solomon Islands signed a security treaty with China because a comparable agreement with Australia was insufficient, according to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who added that his country understood the cost of war and would not participate in any militarization of the Pacific.
Sogavare made his first public comments since meetings with White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell, who visited Hoinara days after the security accord with China was disclosed, when he addressed parliament on Friday.
China’s efforts to expand its military influence in the Pacific have alarmed Western allies, and the security arrangement with the Solomon Islands has roiled Australia’s election campaign.
While the terms of the agreement with China have not been made public, Sogavare has ruled out a military installation and stated that it only concerns internal policing.
On Friday, Sogavare stated that the security pact with China was required since the arrangement with longstanding ally Australia was “inadequate.”