Solomon Islands PM says he missed Biden summit to avoid 'lecture'
The PM of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare says "nothing came out" of last year's summit that he attended.
Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, revealed on Wednesday that he missed a Pacific Islands leaders gathering at the White House this week to avoid a "lecture" and because he had more important domestic matters.
Sogavare, who has developed close relations with China, addressed a news conference on Wednesday after returning to the Solomon Islands from the United States, where he spoke at the United Nations but did not attend a two-day Pacific Island Forum gathering.
On Monday, US President Joe Biden met with Pacific Islands leaders for the second White House meeting in little over a year.
Sogavare pointed out that "nothing came out" of last year's summit that he attended.
"They lecture you about how good they are," he remarked, according to a video of the news conference released on Wednesday evening by Solomon Islands media outlet Tavuli News.
On Sunday, a Biden Administration official stated that they were "disappointed" that Sogavare would not attend this year's summit.
Sogavare explained that he returned home because there were only 10 weeks of parliament remaining in the Solomon Islands, which was more essential.
According to Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, the summit saw the US make a big guarantee for infrastructure investment, and the conference was a "significant step towards making the Pacific more secure and prosperous."
Biden promised to work with Congress to deliver an additional $200 million in financing for regional programs aimed at minimizing the consequences of climate change, stimulating economic growth, combating illicit fishing, and promoting public health.
During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sogavare lauded China's development cooperation as "less restrictive".
In July, the Solomon Islands signed a new deal with China on police cooperation, which will deepen the bilateral relations between the two countries.
The "implementation plan" on policing will take effect as of 2025 and comes as part of nine documents signed by Sogavre and his Chinese counterpart Li Qiang.
At the time, the Chinese Premier said the development of China-Solomon Islands relations over the past four years has been "very fruitful", adding that the Solomons expansion of ties with Beijing was "the correct choice that conforms to the trend of the times."
The US has been troubled over the growing cooperation of nations of the Global South with China, as is the case with the Solomon Islands.
In February, the US opened an embassy in the Solomon Islands, which coincided with Fijian leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, seeking to assess some aspects of his country's relations with China.