Japan is ‘closely monitoring’ security pact between China, Solomon Islands, says foreign minister

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi is in the midst of his first visit to the Solomon Islands where he discussed global security with the island nation’s leader Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. During his five-day visit to the Southern Pacific, the foreign minister also said that Japan is “closely monitoring” the security pact signed between the Solomon Islands and China last year. 

The Japanese foreign ministry also said that the minister expressed Tokyo’s view on how the island country can “achieve long-term development while maintaining autonomy”. Sogavare said that peace and stability of the region are most important while explaining his country’s stance to Hayashi, reported Kyodo News. 

This comes after China and the Solomon Islands signed a security agreement in April last year which could potentially allow Beijing to deploy its military and dock vessels in the islands. The deal also marked the country breaking its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switching to China in 2019. The move has since sparked concerns from the United States and Australia which have seen the move as Beijing’s way to extend its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. 

During his visit, the Japanese foreign minister also said that Tokyo will promote transparent and inclusive cooperation with Pacific island countries to realize a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and is ready to provide assistance in maritime security. 

Hayashi also handed a letter to the Solomon Island PM from his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida about the country’s plan to release one million tonnes of water from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean. 

In response to this Sogavare stated that he appreciated Japan’s explanation and expected the country continues to provide information in a “transparent manner”, as per the Japanese foreign ministry. 

The Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), a multi-nuclide removal system, removes various radioactive materials from contaminated water, as per the Japanese government. In the context of ALPS-treated water which is to be released by Tokyo, Hayashi firmly ensures that there will be no harm to the “environment and human health”. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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