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RNZ Pacific

Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale has accused the country’s Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, of mocking Solomon Islanders.

On Monday, Solomon Islands signed nine deals with China, including an agreement on police cooperation to upgrade the relation between the two nations.

Sogavare arrived in Beijing on Sunday and reportedly told Chinese officials: “I am back home.”

Wale said it was shocking to hear such a statement on foreign soil in light of Sogavare’s pledge during last week’s national day celebrations to pursue an independent foreign policy that did not take sides in the geopolitical struggle between China and the United States.

He said it was offensive for other nations that Solomon Islands had links with to hear such a statement.

“It was indeed surprising to hear this from the Prime Minister,” Wale said.

“For a Prime Minister to imply that China is his home is undiplomatic and shameful,” he said.

Transparency lack ‘outrageous’
The opposition leader also said the lack of transparency in nine new agreements the Sogavare signed with China was “outrageous”.

Wale claimed that some government ministers were not aware of the deals and he questioned whether cabinet had agreed to them.

He said the Prime Minister’s recent actions in China had pushed Solomon Islands further into the spotlight in the geopolitical struggle between the superpowers.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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