Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she met Solomon Islands Development Planning and Aid Coordination Minister Jeremiah Manele in Brisbane on May 6 when he was transiting through the airport.

As Associated Press reported, Payne’s office said that Australia has been consistent and clear in stating its respect for Solomon Islands’ sovereign decision-making.

However, the office added that Australia had reiterated its deep concerns about the security agreement with China, including the lack of transparency.

Payne’s office said the two agreed that Australia remained the Solomon Islands’ security partner of choice and that the Solomon Islands would not host a foreign military base.

The Solomon Islands are located less than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) off Australia’s northeast coast.

Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan said that a Chinese base in the Solomon Islands was not in the region’s interests.

He also told Australian Broadcasting Corp that the two ministers had a “very productive conversation.”

Associated Press reported that Manele, on May 7, could not be reached for comment.

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