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China negotiates secret deal in South Pacific – media

Beijing would gain a strategic beachhead under a draft security agreement with the Solomon Islands, the New York Times reports.

China has reportedly negotiated a secret security pact with the Solomon Islands, setting off alarm bells in the US and Australia because of the potential for Beijing gaining a South Pacific beachhead from which it could block shipping traffic.

Solomon Islands news

Chinese and Solomon Island officials are close to signing the agreement, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing documents leaked by opponents of the deal. If completed, the pact would give Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare the ability to call on China for protection, such as in cases of civil unrest. Beijing would be given rights to dock warships and access “all necessary facilities” on the islands.

Australia’s foreign ministry confirmed the authenticity of the draft security agreement and argued that its “Pacific family” is best-suited to provide security assistance 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,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. 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 said.

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.

Solomon Islands opposition-party leader Matthew Wale told the Times that he feared the vagueness of the security agreement with China would allow it to be used for anything. “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.”

The US State Department is building an embassy in the Solomon Islands decades after closing its diplomatic outpost in Honiara. 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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Source:RT News

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  1. Solomon Island is a sovereign country and it is up to them to have their own security and financial deals. The “divide and rule” deceit onn Solomon Island played by Australia and supported ny NZ wont work in the long run. Both NZ and Australia are literally bankrupt in terms of economic management of their wealth investing in US dollar dominated assests and securities. The decline of USD cannot be stopped, and so Austalia and NZ influence will decline in the pacific when their wealth disappears on a relative basis when compared to many Asian countries. Revaluing housing and other assets from time to time and supplying excessive credit to the economy without any significant productivity increases wont make NZ/Australia any richer. Waiting for the day when this bubble bursts.

    • Yeah, it will be Australasia’s very own Evergrande. How’s those interest payments working out on all China’s $US denominated debts? Its a game everyone’s playing. As the big corporates depart China and the empty residential apartment blocks stay unsold – with a decreasing population we’re all going to wonder what went wrong.

  2. “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.”

    The Aussies have never offered bribes, just transparent aid. The game the Chinese play is the same one as is played in their military – you can buy your rank. Everything’s for sale. Xi’s put to death a number of the players at higher levels and if he didn’t get what he wanted in the Solomons the PM’s brain would end up as a mural on some hotel wall. Pay offs don’t always work out well.

  3. Well, the China-Solomon Isle deal has been just signed; no longer a secret.

    Mockingbird media reports Scomo & Cindy crying over this but keeps very quiet when an unused port in Philipines was bought by US to build a base.

    It is only a matter of time both NZ & Australia were asked to pay more tax for the big military industrial complex so that the “security” is balanced in the Pacific. Just a racket as usual.


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