Solomon Islands DPM at Beijing Forum and gave statement on maritime cooperation at a session in the Belt and Road Forum.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Development, Manasseh Maelanga, visited Beijing this week to attend the Third Belt and Road Forum, where leaders from around the world, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, were in attendance.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by China’s leader Xi Jinping in 2013, is a massive project involving significant investments, totaling hundreds of billions of dollars. It encompasses the construction of infrastructure like bridges, ports, highways, power plants, and telecommunications projects across Asia, Latin America, Africa, and parts of Europe.
Within the delegation from the Solomon Islands, Deputy Prime Minister Maelanga is focusing on discussions related to maritime cooperation, emphasizing the significance of collaborative efforts to develop a sustainable ocean-based economy. This approach seeks to safeguard ocean ecosystems and support the well-being of coastal communities. The Solomon Islands are actively promoting cooperation with China and other Pacific Island countries as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
The forum itself comprises three main components that run concurrently, facilitating comprehensive discussions on connectivity, environmentally sustainable development, and the digital economy. Additionally, there are six specific forums covering various topics, including trade, people-to-people connections, think tank exchanges, clean initiatives, cooperation between local governments, and maritime cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister Maelanga’s delegation, which includes Planning Minister Mr. Rexon Ramofafia and other officials, actively participated in a two-day forum, centered around the theme of “High-quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity.”
During a visit to Beijing in July, China’s President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s support for Pacific Island Countries in their endeavors to implement a strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. China is committed to collaborating with these nations on climate issues in alignment with the goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. President Xi highlighted how the Belt and Road Initiative has fostered increased flows of goods, capital, technology, and people among the participating countries. He is now placing emphasis on making the Belt and Road more environmentally sustainable and of a smaller scale, shifting from large-scale projects like dams to high-tech initiatives such as digital finance and online commerce.
In August of this year, Maelanga expressed to Phoenix TV News that the Solomon Islands expects increased infrastructure support from China due to their strong bilateral relationship.
The Belt and Road Forum marks the first high-level meeting related to the Belt and Road Initiative since 2019 and includes a side event conference for entrepreneurs.