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Japan puts security on agenda with Solomon Islands trip

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi says Japan is “watching the developments” of the Solomon Islands’ security pact with China.

March 20, 2023
By Sakura Murakami
20 March 2023

Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi has discussed global security and China’s presence in the Pacific with the leader of the Solomon Islands on the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to the island state.

Hayashi said Japan was “watching the developments” of a security pact the Solomon Islands signed with China last year, and discussed the current global security environment with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, a statement by Japan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The visit took place a year after the security pact between China and the Solomon Islands prompted concern from the United States and Australia as China seeks to extend its influence in the region.

Japan said it was ready to provide assistance in maritime security as it seeks partnerships with Pacific Island countries in promoting regional peace and stability through its Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, the foreign ministry said.

Hayashi also sought understanding of Japan’s plan to release a million tonnes of treated water from the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean and handed Sogavare a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on the matter.

Sogavare said he hoped Japan would ensure the safety of the release and be open about the process, the statement said. 

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