MP Kenilorea raises concern over leaked documents to arm Chinese embassy personnel

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The Chairman for Solomon Islands Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee Peter Kenilorea Junior says the ‘leaked’ diplomatic note on arming Chinese embassy personnel in Solomon Islands is a serious concern.

Kenilorea said what has unfolded is a clear indication that citizens of this country had been fed with half-truths all along.

In a statement, Opposition MP Kenilorea said the leaked documents have shown that it is a request by the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to arm its embassy.

“While it is not clear if the proposal in the letter to allow the Chinese embassy to bring in arms were approved by the Cabinet, it is a matter of serious concern,” he said.

The Opposition MP said the request is concerning as it undermines our obligation as host country under international law to protect High Commissions and Embassies on our soil.

“If we turned the tables and asked Beijing to arm our diplomats in the Solomon Islands Mission in Beijing, they would never allow it. So why should we allow this on our shores?” Kenilorea said.

He said the leaked diplomatic note has also raised more questions whether the weapons listed on the leaked documents are part of the riot gears and arms shipment earlier last month.

Hon Kenilorea said the continuous secret dealings must be clarified for the sake of transparency and public trust.

“In diplomatic protocol, the request to arm workers of a foreign embassy is not the norm,” he said.

Kenilorea said we are living in abnormal times where the general public and public servants are beginning to ask serious questions.

“Were the replicas secretly imported to the country as part of the plot to conceal real weapons?” he questioned.

He said the country’s sovereignty is at stake and people’s fundamental rights, which include the right to protection by the government, is also a serious matter.

“You have an unusual situation where a donor supplies replica arms for our law enforcement and yet imports real weapons for themselves, with the blessing of the government,” he said.

Kenilorea said an unfortunate precedent has been set and undermines our sovereignty and it is even concerning when we allow our diplomatic partners to arm their embassies.

He said the Foreign Relations Committee would be seriously considering looking into this matter.

“The arrival of the 10 Chinese personnel was also kept secret, the gun shipments were also kept secret, the China security MOU was also kept secret. What else is the government hiding from the citizens of this country?” Kenilorea questioned.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS