BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese communist party delegation has visited the Solomon Islands, calling the “flourishing” cooperation between China and the Pacific nation a show of how diplomatic ties were in their peoples’ interest, Chinese state media said on Sunday.
The delegation led by the deputy head of the international department under China’s Communist Party central committee, Guo Yezhou, met Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during a visit spanning Friday to Sunday. The delegation also met the foreign minister and energy minister.
China had signed a policing pact with the Solomon Islands in July, as both countries upgraded their ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” when Sogavare met Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing.
China’s visit to the southern Pacific archipelago comes a week before Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to visit Beijing.
In June, Sogavare called for a review of its security treaty with Australia, which has historically provided policing support to the Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands’ security pact with China had also alarmed the United States, which responded saying it was committed to a strong relationship with the region and strengthening longstanding bonds with the people of the Solomon Islands.
(Reporting by Liz Lee; Additional reporting by Beijing newsroom)