Solomon Islands PM slams West's 'intimidation' over ties with China
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has hit out at the Western media campaign against his country over its resumption of diplomatic ties with China.
"We have been subjected to a barrage of unwarranted attacks and misplaced criticism, misinformation and intimidation that threatens our democracy and sovereignty,” Sogavare said before the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
“Solomon Islands has been vilified in the media since our relationship with China was formalized."
Sogavare made it clear that his country’s position regarding China "is consistent" with UN resolutions, as well as the principle of 'One China', which he said Solomon Islands respects.
"I reiterate the call for respect for our sovereignty and democracy."
He was referring to a security cooperation agreement signed between China and the Solomon Islands back in April that alarmed American and Australian officials who scrambled to dispatch emissaries to the South Pacific island nation in an attempt to pressure its authorities to abandon the pact.
On Friday, the Solomon Islands prime minister emphasized that his nation does not intend to align itself "with any external power" whose aim is to "threaten" regional and international peace.
His reference was apparently to the US and Australia, which have been the most vocal in attacking and threatening the small island nation for its expansion of ties with Beijing since April.
"Solomon Islands will not be forced to choose sides," he said.
Sogavare signed the agreement with Beijing on April 19 for collaboration on issues such as the maintenance of public order, the protection and security of people and priorities, humanitarian assistance and response to natural disasters.