Australia’s Pacific Minister Zed Seselja urges Solomon Islands Prime Minister not to sign China security deal

Australia’s Minister for the Pacific has used a visit to the Solomon Islands in the middle of the federal election campaign to “respectfully” urge the country’s Prime Minister not to sign a controversial security deal with China.

Senator Zed Seselja traveled to Honiara – with Labor’s support during the caretaker period – to directly press the government’s concerns over an agreement that could allow a Chinese military presence close to Australia.

In a statement after his meeting with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Senator Seselja said Australia remained committed to supporting the Solomon Islands to meet its security needs “swiftly, transparently and with full respect for its sovereignty”.

Senator Seselja said Australia had been a “strong partner” to the Solomon Islands for many years, supporting its security needs through the recent Solomons International Assistance Force and, earlier, through the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands.

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