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International relations

Beijing embraces Solomon Islands after switch from Taipei

Xi calls Pacific nation an extension of 'Maritime Silk Road'

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare walk past the Chinese honor guard in Beijing on Oct. 9.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- The prime minister of the Solomon Islands was greeted here Wednesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping with promises of economic development, just a month after the Pacific nation broke relations with Taiwan in favor of the mainland.

"The Solomon Islands is located on the southern extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road," Xi said. He called for cooperation between the two countries to "open up a bright future for the development of the bilateral relationship."

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Xi signed agreements to cooperate on Belt and Road projects. Beijing sees the Solomon Islands as a strategic asset in its rivalry with the U.S.

Xi also touched on the island nation's potential as a tourist destination, and said Chinese traffic could help the tourism industry there.

Sogavare said his country will work with China on investment, agriculture and fishery, tourism and other sectors.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV and Xinhua both reported on the day's events closely.

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