Solomon Islands' PM unloads on Australia: 'We are insulted'
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannasseh Sogavare has taken a brutal swipe at the Morrison government, ramping up his criticism of Canberra in the wake of his nation's highly-divisive security pact with China.
Mr Sogavare stressed he had put the Solomon Islands on "the right side of history" with the deal with Beijing, which is likely to bring an increased military presence for China to Australia's doorstep.
"What we are concerned about is the ongoing attack against the government... the glaring hypocrisy that bleeds through the strategies employed by some of our partners," he told parliament on Tuesday.
"[They are] giving the government a hard time for no justifiable reason on sovereign decisions that we have painfully assured them that they have nothing to be concerned about.
"We deplore the continual demonstration of lack of trust by these parties."
Mr Sogavare previously pointed out Australia never discussed its AUKUS security deal with Solomon Islands prior to its announcement, suggesting his nation therefore had no obligation to do discuss their China deal with their partners.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted Australia has shown respect to the island nation in their response, however as "family" are justified in voicing reservations over what the deal meant for its own national security.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has for months expressed his concern over China's military threat in the region, ramping up his rhetoric in the wake of the deal suggesting Australia should prepare itself for war.
But Mr Sogavare slammed the move to "attach warning of military intervention" to such criticism of the deal, saying Solomon Islands feels "threatened with invasion".
"That's serious. What is more insulting with this attitude and therefore totally unacceptable is we are being treated as kindergarten students walking around with cold 45s in our hands, and that we need to be supervised.
"We are insulted."
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In what appeared to be a pointed remark that will undoubtedly rile a highly-religious Mr Morrison, Mr Sogavare said Christians and Christian nations "are some of the biggest hypocrites in the world", while criticising the West's response to the war in Ukraine.
'Dangerous combination': Morrison responds to Sogavare's attack
Mr Morrison responded to Mr Sogavare's remarks on Thursday, stressing his government's intentions to "work constructively" with Solomon Islands.
"It means that we deal with these things diplomatically, we do it professionally, calmly, and rationally in dealing with the many challenges that are in the Pacific, and that's what we do every single day," he told the Today show.
Pressing the PM, host Karl Stefanovic seemed unconvinced saying "some people say he's unhinged," referring to Mr Sogavare. "Either way he's seriously ticked off and that's a dangerous combination when you're in bed with China."
Despite Mr Sogavare stressing Solomon Islands had made a strategic shift to China, Mr Morrison said Australia remains its number one security partner.
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