Visit of Chinese Foreign Minister to Solomon Islands

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and said China would continue to provide security assistance to the country.

Wang arrived in the Solomon Islands on Thursday to kick off his 10-day tour of Pacific island nations and Timor-Leste.

His visit to the Solomons follows the signing last month of a security pact between China and the nation.

According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang said during his talks with Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele that China firmly supports the nation’s efforts to defend its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity. .

Manele reportedly said Chinese aid plays an important role in his country’s economic development and in efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Wang’s visit is widely seen as part of China’s efforts to expand its influence in the region, to counter a US-led initiative in the Indo-Pacific region.

Also on Thursday, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong visited Fiji and voiced Australia’s renewed policy of increasing aid to Pacific island nations.

The visit came just days after new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took office and appears to reflect the country’s determination to step up its efforts to counter China’s growing influence in the region.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang is also due to visit Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste during his 10-day trip to June 4.