China Spokesman responses to Reuter’s Questions on draft security cooperation with SI
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s, Regular Press Conference on March 25, 2022
Reuters: A draft of a security cooperation agreement between China and Solomon Islands has recently prompted some concern from members of the Australian government. The draft of the security cooperation agreement, which was shared on social media yesterday, proposes giving China the right to use its forces to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands. It will also allow Chinese ships to visit and make stopover at this archipelago. We want to ask the foreign ministry, firstly does it acknowledge that this draft is authentic, and secondly do you have any further comment on the contents of the draft?
Wang Wenbin: We have made clear our position on China-Solomon Islands policing and security cooperation on many occasions. In November last year, serious unrest broke out in Solomon Islands, putting the lives and property of the people at great risk. China firmly supports the Solomon Islands government in ending the violence and chaos and maintaining stability. China has provided multiple batches of police equipment and sent an ad-hoc police advisory team to the country to conduct training and help its police strengthen capacity-building, which has been widely praised by the Solomon Islands government and all sectors of society. As two sovereign and independent states, China and Solomon Islands conduct normal law enforcement and security cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, which conforms to international law and customary practice. Such cooperation is conducive to maintaining stability in Solomon Islands, promoting regional peace and stability, and enhancing the common interests of China, Solomon Islands and other countries in the region.
Reuters: I want to just follow up on the question about this security cooperation agreement between China and Solomon Islands. Specifically is the foreign ministry aware that the Australian government has already expressed concerns about this draft? Defense Minister Peter Dutton has already said that this is perhaps something that could become a Chinese military base on the islands. And so we just wanted to ask the foreign ministry whether it’s aware of the specific reports regarding this draft and whether you could comment on the veracity of these reports?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, China and Solomon Islands conduct normal law enforcement and security cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, which serves the interests of both countries and others in the region. We hope relevant sides will look at this in an objective and rational light and refrain from reading too much into it. It is irresponsible for a few Australian politicians to make absurd remarks about China “coercing” others. Such remarks intended to create an atmosphere of tension are not conducive to peace and development in the region.
Source: China Embassy, Solomon Islands
(Reuters is a news agency)