China's new security pact with the Solomon Islands has sparked fears in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan that Beijing may establish a military presence in the South Pacific nation.
Australia has pushed back against China's new security pact with Solomon Islands, saying the Pacific region has no need of outside help to protect itself.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong delivered the message on Friday during a one-day visit to the capital Honiara, the latest destination in a South Pacific travel blitz to parry China's diplomatic and security manoeuvres in the region.
"Australia's view does remain that the Pacific family should be responsible for our security," Wong said after meeting with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
"The Pacific family is more than capable of providing that security," said Wong, who took office after her centre-left Labor Party won power in May elections.
It was the highest-ranking Australian visit since the Solomons signed a secretive security pact with China in April, sparking alarm in the United States and its allies in the Pacific.
The agreement has not been made public, but a leaked draft showed it would allow Chinese naval deployments to the islands.
'Partner of choice'
China and Solomon Islands have denied having plans for a Chinese military base.
The Solomons' prime minister also repeated earlier assurances that Australia was its first "partner of choice" in security and development, Wong said.
Wong told reporters that she welcomed Sogavare's reassurances "that there will not be a military base nor a persistent foreign military base here in Solomon Islands".
The foreign minister flagged better cooperation on climate change after Australia's new government nearly doubled its 2030 carbon-cutting targets, saying she understood global warming was a "lived reality" for low-lying Pacific islands.
Since taking office, Wong has flown to Japan, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand to shore up relations in the Pacific region.