The Solomon Islands have come under harsh criticism from Australia over the Pacific island nation’s plans to sign a security pact with China.
According to a leaked draft of the agreement, which hasn’t been finalized, the Solomon Islands could “request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces.” China would also be able to “make ship visits, to carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in Solomon Islands.”
The leak fueled speculation in Australia and New Zealand that China is seeking to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands, which is about 1,200 miles north of Australia’s coast. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the potential deal has caused “great concern” across the Pacific.
On Tuesday, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare spoke out against the backlash. “We find it very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs,” he said. “Our security approach is not done in a vacuum and not without due consideration to all our partners.”
Sogavare also rejected the idea that the Solomon Islands was pressured by China to make the deal. “The Security Treaty is at the request of the Solomon Islands, and we have not been pressured … in any way by our new friends,” he said.
The Solomon Islands has grown closer to China in recent years. In 2019, the Pacific island nation severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established formal relations with Beijing.
The potential deal comes after Australia has taken steps to boost military cooperation with the US and its allies in the Asia Pacific to counter China. Last year, Australia, the US, and Britain signed the AUKUS military pact that will give Canberra access to technology to build nuclear-powered submarines, which could be used to patrol waters near China.
Earlier this year, Australia and Japan inked a military pact that will allow each nation’s military to deploy to the other’s territory for drills. Australia and Japan — as well as the US and India — are members of the Quad, an informal military grouping that some hawks in Washington view as a potential foundation for an Asian NATO-style alliance.
8 thoughts on “Solomon Islands Rejects Backlash Over Planned Security Deal With China”
Australia is on the wrong side of history! Being in the US version of the “international community” will not end well.
Oz is on the UK side, with the queen and her governor-general making sure everyone toes the line as dictated by the US. One Australian PM, Gough Whitlam, tried to kick over the US traces and got dismissed. That’s remembered.
Australia should know its place and not pick a fight with a giant like China. How dare they question China, it can’t go unpunished as it would set a horrible precedent in the whole of Asia.
It’s okay for the US to have bases 6,000 miles from its shores in the western Pacific, Guam, but not okay for China to have a base 4,000 miles from its shores in the Solomon Islands. It’s bad for the “free and open Indo-Pacific” i.e. US world hegemony.
Of course a lot of countries are keen to invite the US, whereas the Chinese have a really bad reputation overall.
re: “the Quad, an informal military grouping”
Sorry, the Quad is only a dialogue group which never addresses military matters, nor China. It’s only real effort to date has been vaccine distribution.
The risk with the Quad is that they do more military rehearsals together and increase their overall level of cooperation. United they are a lethal enemy for China, I’m sure the Quad causes many sleeplessness nights in Beijing for Xi.
How dare China do stuff in our backyard. Lets invade….
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