Sino-Solomon pact ‘foreign policy failure’

The signing of a Sino-Solomons safety pact has been described because the worst Australian international coverage failure within the Pacific since World War II.

Labor international affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says a Chinese safety settlement with a nation 1600 kilometres from Cairns has made the area much less safe.

“On Scott Morrison’s watch our region has become less secure and the risks that Australia faces have become much greater,” Senator Wong instructed the ABC.

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“The government should have acted sooner. We live in a world where the strategic circumstances we face are riskier and more uncertain than in any time since the end of World War II.”

Despite repeated assertions from the Solomon Islands that Australia stays its safety associate of alternative, Senator Wong says the pact with China has demonstrated Canberra is not the go-to for Honiara.

“What this deal signifies is that Australia is no longer for the Solomon Islands a nation to whom they turn to meet their challenges in every instance,” she stated.

But Foreign Minister Marise Payne says criticism of the federal government does not recognise the “the sovereign decisions that governments make for themselves”.

“It also doesn’t recognise the strength and the engagement that Australia has made through the Pacific step up,” Senator Payne instructed the ABC.

“We are looking at very serious geostrategic challenges in our region.”

The international minister expressed her deep disappointment within the signing of the safety settlement when it was made public by the Chinese on Tuesday evening.

Senator Payne says Australia stays involved in regards to the lack of transparency concerning the settlement.

“This has not been agreed in an open and transparent way – not being consulted, for example, across the region,” she stated.

“Security issues have been dealt with in a Pacific-wide manner, that’s the traditional approach for these issues, and that’s why some Pacific partners have also raised concerns.”

Senator Payne says the Pacific household stays the very best suited to cope with Pacific issues and famous Australia stays the Solomon Islands’ largest improvement associate.

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