BY ALEX DADAMU & BARNABAS MANEBONA
AUSTRALIAN Foreign Minister, Senator Wong has successfully completed her one-day visit to the country today.
During her arrival to the country at around 10:40 am this morning, she was met by – His Excellency, Dr Lachlan Strahan – Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands and the country’s – Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Shannel.
Senator Wong then call on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a meeting she described as ‘very constructive’.
“It was a wide-ranging meeting, a meeting that canvasses the breadth of our relationship. We did talk about regional security.
“Australia’s view does remain that the Pacific family should be responsible for our security and the Pacific families more than capable of providing that security,” Senator Wong said.
She told local media that she welcomed Prime Minister Sogavare’s reassurances that there will be no military base nor foreign military presence here in Solomon Islands.
“I welcome his assurance that Australia remains Solomon Island’s first security partner of choice and first development partner of choice.
“We’ve discussed a number of other areas, as I said, across the birth of the relationship, infrastructure, health, education, labour mobility, and of course, climate change.”
Senator Wong later in the day when she visited Burncreek Community, East of Honiara told people gathered there that Australia will bring much more ambition to the issue of climate change.
She urges the people to trust the current Australian government.
“I know from discussions I’ve had today, but also from my previous experience as climate minister many years ago that for Pacific island nations such as the Solomon Islands, climate change is real and is a lived reality. And we have we want to work with you to ensure greater resilience to that reality as well as Australia doing the right thing in its own economy,” the Australian Foreign Minister said.
Senator Wong and her delegation left the country at 6 pm today for Australia.