Payne met Jeremiah Manele overnight as he drove through Brisbane.
“Australia has been consistent and clear in declaring its respect for the sovereign decision-making of the Solomon Islands, but we have reiterated our deep concerns about the security agreement with China, including the lack of transparency,” said Payne in a statement.
“I reinforced that again in my meeting tonight.
“We have agreed that Australia remains Solomon Islands’ security partner of choice.”
“I again welcomed Prime Minister Sogavare’s assurance that the Solomon Islands will not be used as a foreign military base.
“Australia will always work constructively and respectfully with our Pacific family.”
The meeting was welcomed by opposition leader Anthony Albanese.
“It was about time,” he said.
He said he was not sure if Shadow Foreign Secretary Penny Wong had been invited to the meeting, but said it would have been appropriate under the interim mode rules under which the government operates during election campaigns. .
The meeting came days after Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said his country was “threatened with invasion”.
“We are treated like kindergarteners walking around with Colt 45s in our hands, so we have to be watched,” he told his country’s parliament.
“We are insulted, Mr. President.”
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described China’s construction of a military base in the Solomon Islands as a “red line”.