Solomon Islands will not participate in geopolitics in its foreign relations engagements.
Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, made this explicitly clear in reference to the position he had taken on behalf of Solomon Islands Government regarding the Republic of Korea-Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit Declaration. The declaration emanated from the two-day summit held in Seoul on 29 – 30 May.
The declaration recognised shared values of “freedom, democracy, the rule of law, human rights” and the “rules-based regional and international order.”
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday in Honiara on his return from attending the ROK-PIF Leaders’ Summit and a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Sogavare said Solomon Islands has adopted a clear position and that is, it will not participate in any geopolitics.
“Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation and will not directly or indirectly put itself in a position to choose sides,” he said.
He said the KPI summit declaration has elements of competing strategy, which does not align with the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy.
The 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy reinforces commitment and working together in collectivism for the advancement of Pacific regionalism based on the Blue Pacific narrative.
“We registered our reservation on the elements of the declaration, specifically paragraph 5, which made reference to competing strategy ‘The Korean Indo Pacific Strategy.’
“As member of the Pacific Islands Forum, we have our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
“This is the only strategy that Solomon Islands aligns with. We are hoping the Korean Indo-Pacific strategy will be removed from paragraph 5 of the declaration but it was not done,” Prime Minister Sogavare added.
Prime Minister Sogavare said Solomon Islands engagement with Korea is about partnering with other countries set out in 2050 agendas and not allowing another competing strategy as it is in the case of the Korea Indo Pacific strategy.
He said though the declaration was adopted, it was not by consensus because Solomon Islands did not agree with it.
“The inclusion of the Korea Indo Pacific strategy in the declaration means if we agree to the Korea Pacific Islands declaration, we are aligning ourselves to the Korean Indo-Pacific Strategy, which was never was our intention,” the Prime Minister added.
The Korean Indo-Pacific strategy was launched in November 2022 and by implication, it targets third-world countries.
Sogavare said Solomon Islands has made its position known and clear in Washington in 2022 and this position is, “We are friends to all and enemy to none and we shall continue to remain so.”
Nevertheless, the Prime Minister made it clear that Solomon Islands 44-years of bilateral relations with people of the Republic of Korea remains firm.
He said he had a bilateral discussion with the President of the Republic of Korea, which he described as ‘constructive and very fruitful.’
PM Sogavare said on the multilateral front, Solomon Islands continues to work with the Republic of Korea and that it supported the Republic of Korea’s candidature to be a Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the term 2024-2025.
He said Solomon Islands will continue to support the Republic of Korea on its other global positions, including its candidature position on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
On the regional front, the Prime Minister said the Pacific Islands Forum leaders had mandated officials to develop a 2050 Strategic Plan of Action and will find its scope and form in partnership with all PIF dialogue partners.
He said officials were also tasked to review the regional architecture to deliver the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and work on a common policy approach.
Prime Minister Sogavare intends to take the matter up at the next Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in ensuring Pacific Islands leaders remain in control over their agendas and to be destructed to have the 2050 Strategy viewed from another external framework.
“The 2050 strategy must be preserved and protected and not compromised in any way,” he said.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS