In a local television interview on Sunday, April 17, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that there are concerns about a ‘lack of transparency’ in the controversial proposed security pact between the Solomon Islands and China.
According to Bloomberg, Payne said that the concern is “something that should be discussed in the broader Pacific Island forum context itself” and that the “Pacific family is best placed as responders to the security issues in the Pacific Region.”
In addition, Payne also told ABC News that Canberra would continue security cooperation with the Solomon Islands even if it agreed to sign the deal with China.
She said, “Yes, that is absolutely my view and it is the view of Pacific partners,” adding, “But there is also a concern that there has been a lack of transparency in relation to this agreement.”
Reuters reported that the Solomon Islands and China have not yet signed the security deal, which the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and some Pacific island neighbors regard as undermining regional stability.