Beijing offered the Solomon Islands assistance in stopping riots, which include arson attacks and looting. The riots have been ongoing since November when civil unrest broke out.
In a statement on Thursday, the Solomon Islands government announced that it had accepted China’s “offer of riot equipment and six Police Liaison Officers to equip and train Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.”
These riot gears will include shields, helmets and other non-lethal equipment. They will also be flown in to the country.
The government said China’s assistance would complement aid received from other countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea – which it thanked in the same statement.
ABC News heard from unnamed Australian diplomat and defense officials that they were concerned about the possibility of further Chinese assistance.
Even though 73 Australian Federal Police officers deployed to Solomon Islands in October and 43 Australian Defense Force soldiers arrived there last month, violence continues.
The riots were partially motivated by the government’s 2019 decision to sever ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing. Manasseh, Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister suggested that anti China riots may have been incited by foreigners, although he did not name any culprits.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that China’s aid would “arrive in Solomon Islands soon and are expected to play a constructive role in enhancing the ability of the Solomon Islands police.”
“China firmly supports the government of Solomon Islands in defending the country’s stability, resolutely safeguards the relations between China and Solomon Islands and the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens there, and strongly condemns any illegal and violent action,”According to the spokesperson,
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it was aware of China’s assistance, calling it “a matter for the Solomon Islands government.”
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