Bloomberg posted on April 7 that two Australian senior intelligence officials went to the Solomon Islands to work on the Islands’ security pact with China.

To reassure Australia that it is still a “partner of choice,” during the officials’ visit, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare publicized a statement on Solomontimes by the PM Press Secretariat. The statement said that his country would keep its policy of being “friends to all and enemies to none” and that “Australia remains our partner of choice.”

At a Senate hearing in Canberra on Thursday, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the official’s visit to reporters.

Australia and New Zealand said they are worried about the drafts content of a security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands released in late March.

A security agreement could give Chinese naval vessels a safe harbor just 1,200 miles away from the Australian mainland.

The Solomon Islands have been very vocal about their right to make their foreign policy in the previous week.

However, on April 1, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that the security pact would not allow China to set up any military base; they have signed a draft agreement but still working on details.

If China’s navy reaches this Pacific base, Australia and the U.S. are concerned that it will be able to operate closer to them.

In its statement, the Solomon Islands government said the meeting with the Australian envoys will allow both countries to understand better the China deal, which is pure “domestically focused.”

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