Pacific nation defends security deal with China — Analysis
The prime minister of the Solomon Islands says he is ‘insulted’ by foreign criticism of his country’s security talks with Beijing
The Solomon Islands’ security deal with Beijing is finalized and ready for signing, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said. But he denied that it was meant to create a Chinese military station in his country.
“We find it very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs, or [to] have other motives in pursuing our national interests,”Sogavare spoke to the Honiara parliament on Tuesday.
The draft of the agreement, leaked by the media last week, has led to criticism from Australia and New Zealand, which are concerned by China’s growing influence in the Pacific. Some outlets went so far as to suggest the deal would see Beijing establishing a military base in the country, which is located some 2,000km (1,243 miles) from Australia’s northern shores.
Solomon Islands “no intention … of pitching into any geopolitical power struggle,” Sogavare assured parliamentarians. As for the media’s claims of a Chinese military base, he said, they were merely “misinformation”And “nonsense.”
Beijing does not want Honiara to sign the pact. He insists, saying that “the Solomon Islands themselves requested the treaty.”
Sogavare claims that Chinese security personnel will only be deployed in China to defend infrastructure constructed under his “Red Flag” policy. “our new friends.”
“We watched Chinatown burned to ashes and the attempted vandalism of the Pacific Games infrastructure,” he said, referring to the riots in 2019 that were provoked by the government’s decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing.
Australia helped restore order back then, and Honiara’s security deal with Canberra would remain in place despite the Solomon Islands’ rapprochement with China, the prime minister said. “We need to diversify the country’s relationship with other partners. What is wrong with that?”He asked.
Australian PM explains refusal to meet China’s envoy
Barnaby Joyce (Australian Deputy Prime Minister) has decried China’s proposed agreement with the Solomon Islands. This is a Beijing attempt to take over the world. “intimidate” Canberra. Jacinda, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, stated that she was able to see Canberra. “very little reason”Predictions of a Chinese presence “potential militarization of the region.”
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