WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A Japanese sailor was attacked Monday at a World War II memorial in the Solomon Islands that was also attended by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
Radio New Zealand reported that the victim, who was part of the Japanese naval media team, suffered minor injuries from a pair of scissors stabbed in the neck.
The Solomon Islands government held a dawn ceremony at Bloody Ridge as part of the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal.
Radio New Zealand spoke to medics who said the sailor needed stitches but was doing well. Bloody Ridge community leader Wesley Ramo said the suspect was from a neighbouring community and was affected and mentally unstable.
Japanese Defence Minister Makoto Oniki and New Zealand Defence Minister Penny Enare also attended the ceremony.
The suspect pushed the sailor to the ground during the attack, before locals and U.S. military personnel stepped in and detained him, according to reports. Police then took him away and the ceremony resumed after a short break.
Solomon Islands will hold a three-day commemoration to mark the anniversary of the war. Bloody Ridge is a small hill where U.S. Marines fended off a Japanese attack on a military airfield in September 1942.
Sherman was a member of a high-profile diplomatic delegation That was sent to the Solomon Islands by the US, which also included Caroline Kennedy, the US ambassador to Australia.
The trip was of personal interest to Sherman and Kennedy, both of whose fathers fought there during World War II.
Kennedy met Sunday with the children of two Solomon men who helped rescue her father, the late President John F. Kennedy during the war, after his ship was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer.
In an emotional moment, Kennedy gave the children a replica of a coconut husk that her father had used to write letters asking for help, according to news agency Stuff.
The visit comes after the U.S. and several Pacific nations expressed deep concern over the security deal The Solomon Islands signed a deal with China in April, which many fear could lead to a military build-up in the region.
As part of the trip, Sherman has also visited Pacific countries such as Samoa and Tonga, with plans to visit Australia and New Zealand.