Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit Solomon Islands, wider Pacific visit likely

Chinese Foreign Minister and state councilor Wang Yi is likely to make a surprise visit to Solomon Islands in coming weeks, in another sign Beijing is attempting on cementing security and commercial ties with the Pacific island nation while Canberra is consumed by the federal election.

A senior Solomon Islands government source told the ABC that preparations had begun for Mr Wang to visit the capital Honiara.

The visit is not expected to happen this week but is likely to occur later in May, potentially before the federal election next weekend.

Australian officials and ministers are monitoring the planned visit very closely.

One federal government source told the ABC they believed it was likely Mr Wang would travel to Honiara as part of a broader visit to a number of Pacific island countries, but added that some of the plans may still be in flux.

Still, the prospect of Mr Wang making a high-level visit to Honiara ahead of the election on May 21 has stirred anxiety in the Coalition, with fears the visit could once again catapult the China-Solomon Islands security pact back into the headlines, and allow Labor to attack its national security credentials just before the election.

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