PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare arrived to a huge show of support from the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) ministers and backbenchers at the Honiara international airport, Tuesday.
His arrival was marked as a new chapter for Solomon Islands as he detailed his six days official visit to China and his various meeting with the China’s President Xi Jinping and other officials.
“I can say with confidence the visit was both productive and constructive,” Sogavare told reporters.
“The visit represents a new chapter in Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China relations,” he added.
He also expressed that the visit was an opportunity for him to reaffirm the shift in Solomon Islands Foreign Policy, recognising the ‘One China’ principle and discussed areas of bilateral cooperation with PRC leadership.
Bilaterally China is Solomon Islands largest trading partner and regionally speaking Solomon Islands is also China’s second largest trading partner, he said.
“The visit was an opportunity for me to see firsthand how China has modernised in economy in the last 70 years and now China is the second most powerful economy in the world and is still growing,” he added.
Sogavare also highlighted some of his key involvement during his 6 days official visits.
“I had an engagement meeting with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday last week.
“And the People’s Republic of China (PRC) extended their hands of friendship to Solomon Islands following establishment of diplomatic relations on 21st of September 2019,” he added.
Sogavare further added that during his visit five memorandum of understanding (MOU) were signed.
“The MOU’s offered a new form of cooperation based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, beneficial cooperation for common prosperity and development of respective population,” he said.
The five MOUs are as follows;
1. MOU between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries to coordinate all bilateral relations;
2. MOU on economic and technical cooperation – commitment of PRC to support Solomon Islands economic development and well being of Solomon Islanders. The MOU also support national projects of the country in different sector;
3. MOU between the ministries of education of the two states on a range of education are from scholarships to supporting Solomon Islands National University;
4. MOU on the Road and Belt Initiative – is a new form of cooperation covering 5 pillars of connectivity: Infrastructure, trade, finance, policy and people to people relations; and
5. MOU with Guangdong which opens up cooperation between Guangdong and our various provinces covering agriculture, fisheries, health and people to people relations.
Sogavare told the media that Guangdong is ranked 12th globally in terms of GDP and it is an economic giant which have sister relationship with Guadalcanal province and many other province in other countries.
“The MOUs are umbrella arrangement, allows for further discussions between technical authorities to broaden cooperation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sogavare told the journalists that the support he received from his ministers and backbenchers show that DCGA is serious and ready to move Solomon Islands further in terms of development and economic benefits.