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Newsline: Sino-Solomon security pact seen as Australia’s foreign policy failure

Sending the Pacific minister instead of the foreign minister to the Solomon Islands amid security negotiations with China was the right course of action, the prime minister maintains. Scott Morrison defended his national security credentials in the wake of Labor branding the Sino-Solomon security pact Australia’s worst foreign policy failure since World War II. Diplomacy in the region cannot be heavy-handed or impinge on the sovereignty of the nation, Mr Morrison said. “I’m very conscious of how visits are perceived within the Pacific. This was the right calibrated way to address this issue with the prime minister,” Mr Morrison said. Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says a Chinese security agreement with a nation 1600km from Cairns has made the region less secure under Mr Morrison’s watch. “The government should have acted sooner. 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,” Senator Wong said. Wong said the signing of a Sino-Solomons security pact is a major foreign policy failure. (https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/australia/sino-solomon-pact-foreign-policy-failure/ar-AAWnIdU?li=AAhMIBF) But Mr Morrison says “you can’t always be fully persuasive on these issues”, outlining his respect for the nation’s sovereignty.

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