The Solomon Islands signed a security deal with China on Thursday. It is the first bilateral security agreement between China and a Pacific country.
Solomon Island Prime Minister told parliament the agreement was formed in wake of the riots that has happened in the country and said China could help control any future riots and strengthen the local police force.
China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Wenbin said the “agreement will help in strengthening the Solomon Islands and this deal will also represent China’s good relations in the Pacific.”
Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale said he was unaware of this deal until very recently.
“It was kept secret from everyone outside the parliament and was discussed between a small team made by the Prime Minister,” he said.
Mr Wale said he was disappointed the Australian government had “been too soft in this issue”.
Australian Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said the “incapability of Australian government in this matter represents the worst failure of Australian foreign policy in the Pacific since the World War II”.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese described the situation as a “massive failure”.
“China has become more aggressive an active from the past thereby it is the Australian government responsibility to react to such advancements made in the Pacific,” he said.
“It is not a set up for the Pacific rather it is a specific stuff up and failure.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not adopt what previous Australian governments had done and intervene in the politics of sovereign Pacific nations.
“Solomon Islands are independent enough to take their own decisions,” he said.