The Solomon Islands Prime Minister has made his first official visit to New Zealand as aid efforts ramp up to counter China’s growing influence.
While the island nation recognises Taiwan, China is starting to make inroads there sparking concern amongst Western neighbours.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela admitted that Australia had security fears when Chinese tech giant Huawei moved to build an internet cable linking Papua New Guinea and the Solomons with Sydney, TVNZ reports.
“In terms of the security fears..we have some concerns raised with us by Australia and I guess that was the trigger for us to change from Huawai,” he said.
Both Australia and New Zealand have significantly increased aid to the island nation – New Zealand from $24.1 million in 2016-17 to $35 million in 2017-18.
The Solomons is to get a boost in education, community policing, fisheries and aviation.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Pacific reset is more about partnership and less about the traditional donor-recipient relationship.
“There is a lot of conversation over what has changed with this Government’s stance on the Pacific – actually it was us looking at the role we need to play regardless of what anyone else is doing in our region,” she said.