Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met with the leader of the Solomon Islands to discuss global security and China’s presence in the Pacific. This was the first visit by a Japanese foreign minister to the island state.
According to a foreign ministry statement, Hayashi stated that Japan was “watching the developments” of a security pact signed by the Solomon Islands with China last year, and that he discussed the current global security environment with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
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 in Pacific Island countries in promoting regional peace and stability through its Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, according to Japan’s foreign ministry.
Hayashi also sought understanding for Japan’s plan to release 1 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 will ensure the safety of the release and be open about the process, according to the statement.