Morrison defends Australia's ties with Solomons

Scott Morrison, Australia's Prime Minister, stated Thursday that he is following the advice of security officials in managing bilateral relations between the Solomon Islands and Australia.

Morrison defends Australia's ties with Solomons

Scott Morrison, Australia's Prime Minister, stated Thursday that he is following the advice of security officials in managing bilateral relations between the Solomon Islands and Australia. This was after a leader from South Pacific neighbour South Pacific claimed he had been threatened with invasion.

Manasseh Sogavare, the Solomons Prime Minister, told Parliament Wednesday that China-opponents had insulted and threatened his country through his new security pact.

Sogavare didn't name Australia or the United States. Both countries informed the Solomons that any Chinese military presence within the Solomons, less than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) from the northeast Australian coast, would not be tolerated.

Sogavare stated that "we deplore the continued demonstration of lack trust by the affected parties, and tacitly warning of military intervention to Solomon Islands if their nation interest is undermined or in Solomon Islands."

Sogavare said, "In other words we are threatened by invasion."

Morrison stated that the threat of invasion was false.

Morrison refused to take the Labor Party's center-left advice to call Sogavare.

Morrison stated that he could clearly tell reporters that he is following the security intelligence agency's advice on how to manage the issues related to this matter. "That's exactly what I am doing."

Morrison stated that he had been in contact with Sogavare over the past few months, but did not give any specifics.

Anthony Albanese, the Opposition leader, has promised closer engagement between Australia's South Pacific neighbours if Labor wins the May 21 elections.

Albanese stated that "the fact that the prime Minister has not picked up the telephone to Prime Minister Sogavare speaks volumes about the need for that relationship."

Albanese said, "The government has lost the ball on Pacific right now."

Morrison stated last month that Australia's position on opposing a Chinese military presence in the Solomons was the same as the United States. The United States and Australia have not yet discussed how they would respond to a Chinese presence.

Sogavare maintained that there would not be a Chinese base in his country.

"We are being treated like kindergarten students, walking around with Colt.45s in both our hands. We need to be monitored. On Wednesday, Sogavare stated that they were being insulted.

Morrison stated that Australia must be calm and composed when dealing with the Solomons.

"Mr. Morrison stated that Sogavare had entered into a secret agreement with the Chinese government. He has done it with several of his Cabinet ministers."

Morrison stated, "That didn't surprise our government. So now we just work responsible with our partners to handle that situation to protect the security interests not only of Australia, but also of Solomon Islands."

"We are concerned about the Solomon Islands. We are very concerned about the security of the Southwest Pacific. Morrison said that other leaders with whom I have been in frequent contact are also concerned.

Labor condemned the China-Solomons Pact as Australia's worst foreign policy failure in the Pacific since World War II.

Morrison stated that Australia was still the Solomons preferred security partner, despite the new agreement.

Australia has already signed a bilateral security agreement with Solomons. Australian police peacekeepers are currently stationed in Honiara as a precautionary measure since November's riots.

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