China negotiates secret deal in South Pacific – media — Analysis
The New York Times reported that Beijing would be granted a position of strategic importance under the draft security agreement it has with Solomon Islands.
China has apparently negotiated a secret security agreement with Solomon Islands. This alarms Australia and the US because Beijing could gain a South Pacific shorehead, which would block shipping traffic.
According to the New York Times, Chinese and Solomon Island officials could sign the agreement in the near future. The pact, if it is completed, would allow Manasseh Sogavare, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, to contact China in case of civil unrest. Beijing would have access to the docking of warships, and rights to make use of military vessels. “all necessary facilities”On the islands.
Australia’s foreign ministry confirmed the authenticity of the draft security agreement and argued that its “Pacific family”It is most qualified to provide security aid to the Solomon Islands. It noted that Australia has come to the country’s aid in the past, such as when it activated a 2017 security treaty with the Solomon Islands to help restore order during riots last November.
“We would be particularly concerned by any actions that undermine the stability and security of our region, including the establishment of a permanent presence, such as a military base,”In a statement, the Foreign Ministry stated that they were pleased to announce this. It added that Australia’s government and Sogavare announced on Thursday that international assistance forces will remain in the Solomon Islands until December 2023.
Canberra also will provide A$22 million ($16.4 million) in budget support to help Sogavare’s government mitigate the economic impacts of the riots and the Covid-19 pandemic. “Australia will be transparent and show respect as a reliable partner as we seek to build unity across the Pacific,”The foreign ministry stated.
Last year’s violence sprung up from protests over the Sogavare government’s decisions to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan, establish ties with Beijing, and sign development deals with Chinese companies. The rioters attacked Sogavare’s residence and burned businesses in Chinatown on Guadalcanal, the island made famous by a World War II battle between the US and Japan.
Matthew Wale from the Solomon Islands was quoted by the Times as saying that the loose security agreement with China could be misused for any purpose. “The crux of it is that this is all about political survival for the prime minister,”He said. “It has nothing to do with the national security of Solomon Islands.”
Australia sends troops to an island hit hard by anti-China protests
A decade after it closed its Honiara diplomatic post, the US State Department has begun building an embassy to Solomon Islands. Charles Edel, who is the Australia chairman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, argued that the secret security deal with China would degrade Australia’s security. “This is deeply problematic for the United States and a real cause of concern for our allies and partners,”He told The Times.
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