China, Solomon Islands establish comprehensive strategic partnership

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Monday jointly declared the setting up of a comprehensive deliberately constructed partnership, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said. Mr Xi and Mr Sogavare met in Beijing on Monday afternoon, after the prime minister walked in China on Sunday for his first encounter since striking a safety deal. “China and Pacific island are both growing nations and should give more nourishment to the mutual assistance within the framework of South-South cooperation,” Mr Xi said in his meeting with Mr Sogavare at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

CCTV said the partnership was agreed “with mutual respect and common development” but gave no further details. Mr Xi also promised support for a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, a regional strategy backed by Pacific island nations, it reported. In a statement, Mr Sogavare’s office highlighted “quality infrastructure” as an area that the nation requires for economic growth to remove poverty. Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is already working on a cellular network in the island nation, financed by a US$66 million (S$89 million) Chinese EXIM Bank loan that has led to concern by a parliamentary committee about the debt problem.

A Chinese state company will also re-establish Honiara’s port.  Mr Sogavare is tentatively going to be in China until Saturday, and is officially opening his nation’s Beijing embassy, as well as going to the economic powerhouse provinces of Jiangsu and Guangdong. China has also been successful in making impact, striking a secretive safety deal with the Solomons that allows Beijing’s forces to deploy on the islands.