Solomon Islands security deal with China 'quite unfortunate' - Helen Clark

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark says New Zealand needs to nurture its relationship with the Solomon Islands to avoid division within its Pacific neighbours.

A draft security alliance between China and the Solomon Islands has prompted fear of a possible Chinese military base in the islands.

But Clark says the Pacific must stay together and any outside deals with security will always be alarming.

"There's been a history in the South Pacific that we help each other out and so I think anyone else coming in, signing a defence and security pact, this is going to raise many, many, many eyebrows. I personally think it's quite unfortunate because the Pacific family likes to work together."

Although the Solomon Islands government has played down any concerns about a military base, Clark says New Zealand's responsibility is to be actively present to the Solomon Islands. 

"We've been pretty focused on our own mahi, and maybe we've just let things slip.

“I was very pleased to see Nanaia Mahuta get back to Fiji but let's try and keep the Pacific family together and not have others come and start to introduce this kind of division, that would be my concern."


Photo source PMN News