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Beck defends gov’t on question that they’re trading on dangerous ground with China

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Beck speaking to journalists yesterday.
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The Government has defended claims that it is trading on a dangerous ground by entering into a security treaty with China, a country it only established diplomatic relations with in 2019.

Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs Collin Beck told journalists that China is not a new friend as they had been present in the country before independence and trading had started in the early days and has continued to grow.

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The PS in his response to a question from journalists on whether the government was trading on a dangerous ground by engaging with the PRC in a security treaty has denied the claim arguing that both countries had been working together even before and after independence.

Beck said upon independence both were members of the United Nations and China was in the Security Council that recognized and approved SI’s full membership of the UN.

“We have worked with China for decades now,” he said.

Beck argued that both China and the Solomons also belong to the same regional grouping globally – the Asia Pacific Group—but Australia and New Zealand are not as they are members of Western Europe and other groupings.

Additionally, Beck stated that China has always been Solomon Islands’ major trading partner.

Solomon Islands has become the 179th country to recognize China since switching diplomatic ties in 2019.

He said if you look at that short space of time, “we are building infrastructures, is it dangerous or not?”

Beck said that they have already invested in many areas pointing to SINU, support in the health sector, scholarships as some of them.

“Things are moving so fast and we are playing catch up since we had formalized the relationship,” he said.

The government has come under heavy criticism from its ANZ partners after the security treaty was leaked on social media last week.

Australia & New Zealand arrangements

Beck joined PM Manasseh Sogavare in stating that the country’s bilateral agreements with Australia and New Zealand remain intact.

“We have assured them that nothing has changed,” he said.

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