Australian Foreign minister to visit Solomon Islands


Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong will visit the Solomon Islands in her third Pacific trip since being sworn in.

The trip will be the first from an Australian minister following the signing of a Sino-Solomons security pact as China continues to push for a region-wide security agreement.

Senator Wong says her upcoming trip to New Zealand and the Solomons will reinforce Australia’s “close friendships and cooperation in our region”.

The foreign minister will meet with her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta, where regional security will be discussed alongside the country’s First Nations foreign policy experience.

“Our countries are tied together by the deepest bonds of friendship, shared values, history and sacrifice,” Senator Wong said.

“As part of our discussions, we will consider ways we can work together, to make the most of the new energy and resources the Australian government is bringing to the Pacific.”

Senator Wong will then meet with Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and a number of his cabinet ministers on Friday.

“We are committed to deepening our cooperation with Solomon Islands, as we work together to face shared challenges and achieve our shared goals, including on climate change,” she said.

“I look forward to discussing the ways we can continue to make progress on pandemic recovery, economic development and labour mobility priorities, and addressing our shared security interests.”

The regional agreement has raised concerns among Australia and its allies, which argues regional security should remain in the remit of the “Pacific family”.

The trip also comes ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum in mid-July, when the regional security agreement is due to be discussed, with nations like Fiji pushing for regional consensus.