Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Nov. 8) – The Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs must be commended for taking the initiative to discuss with its heads of missions the Government’s Foreign Policy - Look North.

Usually foreign policies are designed to help protect our national interests, national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity. This can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through aggression, war, and exploitation.

Our current policy, which is similar to Papua New Guinea’s policy 10 years ago—Look North and Work the Pacific—at last shows that the government is now addressing its needs and seeking to do that with partners.

The Look North Policy, which theoretically means engaging in Asia, paves the pathway for Solomon Islands to look beyond the Pacific as traditional allies—in trade and education to name a few.

The policy clearly states the government’s intentions for more engagement with Asian countries in pursuing its development goals.

Though there wasn’t a foreign policy in place, the Asian region remains an important trading partner with Solomon Islands.

With most countries sharing similar development status like us, we can greatly learn from our Asian neighbors and engage more in areas deemed to be beneficial to us.

Solomon Islands and Taiwan’s relationship is a case in point.

As the policy is tied to economic development, the government should fully utilize every opportunity that we stand to benefit under any existing agreements, either bilateral or multilateral basis.

There is no reason of devising a policy with effectively no benefit to us. It is the responsibility of the foreign affairs to identify the areas and countries which we need to engage more with because we will stand to benefit.

At the same time, we must also keep a mutual and cordial relationship with those we have little engagement with.

To achieve our goals, our foreign policy’s most important task is to consolidate support from the international community both within the north and outside.

As the people who will pursue our interests abroad, especially those designated for Asia, our ambassadors are at the forefront of implementing the policies. They must fully understand the objectives of the policy and how the host country will receive them.

As Asia stands to offer more opportunities than the Pacific, we anticipate that our closer cooperation with them will reap more results as a result of our new engaging policy.

As a gateway to the world, the department should work closely with its sister departments and ministries to see that the policy is fully realized than just a mere piece of paper lying in the dust cupboards in the foreign office.

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