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Australia slammed by Solomons opposition

Australia’s recent donation of weapons and equipment to the Solomon Islands has been labelled by the nation’s leader of opposition, Matthew Wale as a desperate effort to counter China’s gun diplomacy.

While slamming the Australian Government’s move, Mr Wale also questioned whether the supply of guns was a request from the national government or a gift from Australia.

He raised his concerns regarding the Solomon Islands becoming the playground of big powers, claiming that it was ‘gun diplomacy’.

“It is clear Australia is anxious that if they do not supply guns then China will,” Mr Wale said.

“Geopolitical interests have surpassed national interest in this country and it is a sad state of affairs.”

Mr Wale questioned why the police force needed the high-powered guns following the handing over of 60 Daniel’s Defense MKN type rifles to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force at a ceremony at the Rove Police headquarters.

Mr Wale said Solomon Islands has a dark history with guns, and past experiences have shown how guns could become uncontrollable in the hands of the wrong people, referring to times when they were used for demonstrations of frustrations against the government.

“One can easily speculate that the guns are to be used against our own citizens, and if this is the case then it is very worrying.”

Australia’s recent donation of weapons and equipment to the Solomon Islands has been labelled by the nation’s leader of opposition, Matthew Wale as a desperate effort to counter China’s gun diplomacy. Picture: Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands
Australia’s recent donation of weapons and equipment to the Solomon Islands has been labelled by the nation’s leader of opposition, Matthew Wale as a desperate effort to counter China’s gun diplomacy. Picture: Australian High Commission to Solomon Islands

“Obviously we do not have external threats so why the introduction of these high-powered guns? Or are we on the pathway of being militarised again?”

The opposition leader said the guns might be put to good use protecting the Shortlands border but not in Honiara. Mr Wale during his visit to Shortlands in 2020 raised the need for high-powered weapons capability at the border to prevent illegal activities at the international border.

However he said guns should never be the answer to domestic security, and social and economical problems in the country.

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“The root causes of these problems lie in the lack of sound economic policies which guns cannot solve,” he said.

Australia’s donation to the Solomons also included 13 vehicles, along with specialist training to officers. Four of the vehicles are expected to be used to help set up a mobile protection unit for Solomons police, which will manage security threats to critical infrastructure.

The $1.3 million gift by Australia was made as part of a partnership program between the two countries, and will help boost the capability of Solomons police in the lead up to next year’s Pacific Games.

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