The United States hosted the Summit of the US and Pacific Island nations late last September. The two-day summit (September 28-29) resulted in a joint declaration between the United States and representatives from 14 Pacific Islands countries. Its contents cover various issues, including practicing sustainable development, tackling climate change, and maintaining the security of the Pacific region and its trade sector.
Solomon Islands, one of the Pacific Island countries despite previously showing refusal, finally signed the document.
The country's refusal was due to a point in the draft declaration which urged the Pacific Islands countries to take side with either the United States or China, which are in conflict in the region. Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, Jeremiah Manele on Tuesday (04/10) said he objected to the draft agreement with the United States-Pacific Partnership because he had to choose one side (the United States or China). In fact, according to Minister Manele, his country is neutral, not in a position to choose one side.
However, after going through a series of negotiations, the United States and the Pacific Island countries reached a point of agreement. Thus, the Solomon Islands finally signed the final declaration of the joint agreement last week.
Efforts to reach common ground are inseparable from the success of the Solomon Islands government's diplomatic strategies. It was successful in convincing the United States and the Western Allies that the Pacific was not an area of confrontation. Countries in the Pacific region including the Solomon Islands welcome the establishment of close relations not only with the United States, but also with other countries, including China.
The success of the Solomon Islands in negotiations regarding uneasy matters with the US needs to be appreciated. The Solomon Islands government has shown that as a sovereign state, Solomon Islands has the right to establish cooperation with any country it wishes. There should not be any country that suppresses and compels or restricts other countries. Pressure and coercion actually damage peace, especially in the Pacific Islands Region.