Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare has lauded Japan as a ‘regional hegemon’ amongst others for ensuring ‘regional peace.’
The Prime Minister was speaking at a function hosted by the Japanese Embassy in Honiara last night to mark the 83rd Birthday of the Emperor of Japan, His Majesty Akihito.
Further to expressing admiration for the great respect that the Japanese possess for emperor and highlighting international admiration for their profound resilience in times of natural disasters, Prime Minister Sogavare said, “Japan is a regional hegemon living amongst others – or even among many if you like.”
“So far Japan has acted responsibly to ensuring regional peace or the absence of war in the kind of hot spots we have in the region,” and added that, “Situations dictate how we act,” he added.
The Prime Minister said as a country sharing one ocean and the same values as Japan, Solomon Islands expects Japan to be strong, adding that when Japan is strong, the Pacific can be safe.
He said the Government and people of Solomon Islands can proudly attest that this has been the case in the last decades.
“It is pleasing to note that Japan’s unique strength in this regard comes from the deliberate choice of its people as enshrined in its constitution to pursue the path of peace in dealing with imminent breakdown of diplomacy in matters of state to state aggression – the path of non- aggression to achieve peace.
Prime Minister Sogavare said he would like to believe that Japan’s rise to become a powerful economic force and a most technologically advanced economy in the world is partly because of this very reason.
Considering the leading role played by Japan in the region, he said Solomon Islands expects Japan to act decisively when its freedoms are being challenged.
“All I am saying is Japan has a big role in contributing to world peace, nothing more – nothing less, because she has the edge over many. The technological and economic edge that you possess resonates well on our security and the region’s prosperity and stability.
“We believe that we can rely on some kind of security umbrella under your leadership or joint leadership with like-minded allies, some of whom are with us this evening, I must acknowledge.” Allies with diplomatic representation at the function included Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to reiterate Solomon Islands gratitude to the Government and People of Japan for what he described as ‘a wonderful 38 years of bilateral relationship’ which has seen ‘big money’ invested into infrastructure development.
“Japan was among the first few original allies with whom Solomon Islands forged bilateral relations with, right on Independence Day on July 7th, 1978.
“Since that day we had received $40 billion of economic development assistance through grant aid technical co-operation.
Currently two major projects can be described as landmark for Honiara – the recently completed Project for the Improvement of Honiara Port Facilities and what we are now seeing as the Upgrade of the Kukum Highway Project.”
“Your choice of throwing your big money into infrastructure development is highly commendable.”