Senior diplomats of the two countries make competitive visits to the Pacific islands.
Wong told reporters on Friday that she traveled to Fiji days after being sworn in to show the priority the new Australian government is giving the Pacific region.
She said Australia respects that Pacific nations decide with whom to work, but is concerned about the implications of the Solomon Islands Security Agreement.
“There are consequences, and we think it is important that the region defines the security of the region,” she said.
She added, “The world has changed, there is a lot of strategic competition, there is a lot of disruption to international norms – the Russian invasion of Ukraine is proof of that. We hope to work our way through that with you.”
Speaking at a press conference in Honiara the day before, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the “defamations and attacks” on the security pact “would be a dead end and any interference and sabotage would be doomed to failure.”
The security agreement “aims to help Solomon Islands improve its police and law enforcement capabilities and support Solomon Islands to better ensure its social security, while protecting the safety of Chinese citizens and enterprises in Solomon Islands,” Wang said. According to the details released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
He said that China has no plans to establish a military base there.
“China supports the Pacific island countries in strengthening security cooperation and working together to meet regional security challenges,” he said.
At a meeting in Fiji next week, Wang will push for a far-reaching agreement with 10 island nations on security and trade, which has alarmed the United States and its Pacific allies.
In a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a global security initiative, whose support Beijing has since sought in its meetings with its diplomatic allies.
Gabriel Vicentin, the European Union’s special envoy for the Indo-Pacific region, told ABC Radio Friday that China’s push for a region-wide agreement with a security component is a clear sign that Beijing wants to “tighten the noose” with countries in the region. Pacific Ocean, and that the European Union will intensify its involvement in the Pacific.
On Friday, Wang arrived in the small island nation of Kiribati, where he will stay for four hours as part of an unprecedented tour of eight countries in the region.
Wong was greeted in a traditional ceremony on Friday morning by her Fijian counterpart, and will later meet with Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama to discuss climate change policies and to extend the Australian visa program to allow Pacific workers to bring their families to Australia.
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.