By Robert Iroga in Honiara
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has denied allowing the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands in a security treaty that he confirmed today as having already been finalised.
“We denied it totally. We don’t know where it came from,” Sogavare said when responding to a question in Parliament today.
Sogavare took about 30 minutes to defend the security treaty with China which was leaked on social media and has caused waves of concern, especially in Australia and New Zealand.
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Among the concern is a claim that the treaty allows China to establish a military base in Solomon Islands.
Sogavare said the Australian media had focused on Solomon Islands being pressured by China to build a military base in Solomon Islands, which was only 2000km away from the northern coast of Australia.
“Where does the nonsense come from?” he asked.
Sogavare said the security treaty was pursued at the request of Solomon Islands and “we are not pressured. We are not pressured in any way by our new friends”.
Sogavare said: “There is no intention whatsoever to ask China to build a military base in Solomon Islands.
“We are insulted by such an unfounded stories and comments.”
Meanwhile, he said the treaty has already been finalised and approved by cabinet.
Robert Iroga is publisher and editor of SBM Online. Republished with permission.