December 3, 2022

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Penny Wong to travel to Solomon Islands and meet with PM Manasseh Sogavare – after criticism of Pacific nation’s China pact

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Penny Wong later on this week will head off for her third excursion to the Pacific considering the fact that starting to be International Minister, this time visiting the Solomon Islands and New Zealand to “reinforce our near friendships”.

Overseas Minister Penny Wong will take a look at the Solomon Islands later this 7 days, wherever she is seeking forward to “addressing our shared stability passions”.

Ms Wong will meet up with with the country’s Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare throughout the go to, which is her third trip to the Pacific considering that remaining sworn in late last month.  

Security is high on the agenda immediately after Honiara signed a pact with Beijing, which sparked fears China could make a armed forces base on Australia’s doorstep.  

“On Friday, I will check out Solomon Islands, the place I will fulfill Key Minister the Hon Manasseh Sogavare and a number of his Cabinet ministers. I also look forward to participating with the neighborhood local community, such as women of all ages leaders,” Ms Wong claimed. 

“We are dedicated to deepening our cooperation with Solomon Islands, as we perform together to face shared problems and realize our shared plans, such as on local weather alter.

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“I glimpse ahead to speaking about the strategies we can go on to make development on pandemic recovery, economic development and labour mobility priorities, and addressing our shared stability interests.” 

Ms Wong whilst in opposition intensely criticised the Coalition for failing to intervene to quit the Solomon Islands-China deal, indicating then-primary minister Scott Morrison had “dropped the ball in the Pacific”.

“This is the worst overseas plan blunder in the Pacific considering that the conclude of Environment War II and Mr Morrison does will need to just take obligation for it. It has transpired on his view,” she claimed in late April. 

Ms Wong times later on said the prospect of a Chinese base a lot less than 2,000km absent “is considerably harmful to Australia’s protection passions”.  

Mr Sogavare and Beijing officials have explained armed service bases would not be section of the security pact. 

Ms Wong’s third vacation to the Pacific also consists of a take a look at to New Zealand.  

“Our nations are tied together by the deepest bonds of friendship, shared values, heritage and sacrifice – bonds which ended up reaffirmed in the course of New Zealand Key Minister Jacinda Ardern’s conference with Primary Minister Albanese in Sydney past 7 days,” she mentioned. 

Ms Wong claimed in the course of her check out to New Zealand she will fulfill with her counterpart Nanaia Mahuta for “Foreign Minister Consultations”.

“New Zealand is an indispensable partner in our ambitions for a more robust Pacific family members. As element of our discussions, we will take into account techniques we can perform collectively, to make the most of the new energy and resources the Australian Government is bringing to the Pacific,” she mentioned. 

“There are new alternatives for collaboration with New Zealand in assist of regional safety and on local climate change. I also look forward to drawing on New Zealand’s experiences as Australia develops a Initially Nations foreign policy.” 

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