The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands on Tuesday defended the country's possible security deal with China, hitting back at critics and calling their protests "very insulting." The Pacific Island nation confirmed last week it would expand its security relationship with China -- prompting alarm from regional leaders wary of Beijing's growing reach.
"We find it very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs," Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said in Parliament Tuesday, addressing the international backlash. "Our security approach is not done in a vacuum and not without due consideration to all our partners."
"The Security Treaty is at the request of the Solomon Islands, and we have not been pressured ... in any way by our new friends," he added. "We have no intention, Mr Speaker, of pitching into any geopolitical power struggle."