Solomon Islands' government has confirmed that the Chinese Embassy in Honiara requested security personnel be allowed into the country from Beijing during violent anti-government riots in November last year.
Clarifying reports concerning a leaked diplomatic correspondence between the Chinese Embassy and Solomon Islands' authorities, the government said the events of November 2021 had over-stretched local police.
It said Solomon Islands was unable to guarantee the safety and security of resident diplomatic personnel, including Chinese diplomats who were in particular danger given the rioters' animosity towards Beijing.
The government confirmed the request to allow diplomatic Chinese security personnel to protect the Embassy had been considered but was paused while the security situation was monitored.
In the end it confirmed no Chinese security personnel had entered the country and no arms had been shipped from Beijing apart from a consignment of replica firearms stored by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and used in their training exercises.
The government said it was regrettable that misinformation from anonymous sources continued to distort facts and tarnish good relations between Honiara and Beijing.
Australia concerned over China Pact
Meanwhile, the Australian government wants the Solomon Islands government to abandon its plans to sign a proposed security pact with China.
Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja is in Honiara this week to meet with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to discuss the Solomon Islands-China security agreement.
Seselja said Australia had significant concerns about the proposed security arrangement between Honiara and Beijing and didn't see the need for it.
He said Australia had asked Solomon Islands to consider not signing the agreement and to consult the Pacific family in the spirit of regional openness and transparency, consistent with the Pacific region's security frameworks.
"We have significant concerns about the proposed security agreement with China, that we disagree on the need for it, in part because we believe we've seen just in recent times how the Pacific family are able to work together to deal with the security challenges in the region,"Seslja said.
"Going forward. We would call for ongoing dialogue with the region in a transparent manner."