LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale says he is concerned that the newly signed policing agreement with China could undermine peace and security in Solomon Islands and the region.
Hon Wale said it could potentially jeopardise Solomon Islands diplomatic relationship with other regional partners.
Hon Wale made this statement following the policing agreement signed by the Prime Minister and his delegation in China this week.
He said the Sogavare government has again placed Solomon Islands at a very critical situation amongst its opposing regional security partners.
Hon Wale said the signing only plays into China’s ambitions to extend its influence in the Asia-Pacific and beyond for reasons that may not have Solomon Islands best interest at heart.
The Opposition Leader said policing is different in democracies than in communist countries and that democracies must uphold human rights & due process.
“We are also partners with Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea in security & policing with RSIPF. What is worrying is the lack of transparency around these policing agreements which will impact operational coordination between these partners and RSIPF,” Hon Wale said.
He said Solomon Islands is a very small country to be having more than one security partner or even to be signing ambiguous security and policing deals.
“Just last week the Prime Minister asked the Australian DPM to review the security agreement with Australia. And then now we are committing ourselves to another policing agreement with China. There is also no clear mandate on the security agreement with Fiji and PNG. These agreements need to be made transparent for citizens of this country to see. Citizens need to know what are the conditions of these agreements and so forth,” the Opposition Leader said.
Hon Wale reiterated that Solomon Islands do not have external or internal enemies so most of these agreements are unnecessary.
“It is sad that we are peddling with the sovereignty of this country in the hands of the big players. It is a worrying and dangerous path,” he said.
The Opposition Leader adds the concern for Solomon Islands is placing itself in the middle of the dominant powers in the region.
“Our fear is that in the near future China’s interest will clash with US influence and strategic interests in the region and we are right in the middle of it all,” he said.
“This is dangerous. We depend on our regional partners for a lot more than safeguarding our security interests. The secrecy and lack of transparency employed in this case will have extensive impacts,” Hon Wale adds.