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Australia is to fund a $250 million (US$173 million) grants programme for the Solomon Islands, according to reports on Monday, as Canberra confronts a growing Chinese influence in the region.
Solomon Islands police were maintaining an uneasy calm in the capital Honiara on Thursday, a day after more than 50 people were arrested in riots following the contested election of prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Wednesday and signed several agreements in the first official visit since the two countries
The passengers were heading from the capital Honiara to West Are'are, more than 120 kilometres (75 miles) away, under a government programme to evacuate people to their home villages during the global coronavirus epidemic.