Solomon Islands leader rules out military base in China, keeps Australia safe

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogaware again expelled stating that the Pacific Nation would become an “enemy” if that happened.
Eliminate concerns about Mr Sogaware reiterated in interviews with the Guardian, RNZ and SIBC that Australia remains “the Pacific nation’s preferred security partner.”
He also said does not include military base, facility or institutions.
“I have already said and I will repeat again that it is not in anyone’s interests and not in the interests of the region to establish any military base in any Pacific island country, let alone the Solomon Islands,” he said. on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji.

“The moment we set up a foreign military base, we immediately become an enemy.”

READ MORE

Mr Sogaware said Chinese security officials would only be called in to help if the Australian government failed to meet his country’s security requests.
“If there is any gap, we will not let our country go to the bottom. If there is a gap, we will turn to China for support,” he said.
“But we have made it very clear to the Australians, and many times when we talk to them, that they are the partner of choice…when it comes to security issues in the region, we will turn to them first.”
He said the Solomon Islands made sure that the agreement did not undermine the region’s security.

On Thursday morning, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was confident there would be no security base.

Why was Australia concerned about the security agreement?

The Australian government has repeatedly expressed concern about China’s influence and interest in the Pacific region.

In 2019, the Solomon Islands ended 36 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan and defected to China.

READ MORE

In April, China announced the signing of a security agreement with the Solomon Islands that rocked the Indo-Pacific and heightened geopolitical tensions.
The leaked project has raised fears that the pact will lead to China setting up a military base in the Solomon Islands, which are located about 1,700 kilometers northeast of Cairns.
Mr. Sogaware and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin dismissed the possibility of such a scenario.
Politicians and analysts have noted that a potential Chinese military base could leave Australia’s east coast open to direct military attack, as well as the start of dominance in the South Pacific.
They also said that China’s investment in small states will be accompanied by which could lead to increased control over assets in the region.

Australia had previously asked the Solomon Islands not to sign the agreement, and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) officials later used bilateral talks with China to express “serious concern” about the pact.

What else do we know?

In spite of the final details of the collateral agreement were not made public.
The draft leak included a proposal that “China may, in accordance with its needs and with the consent of the Solomon Islands, make ship visits, carry out logistics replenishment, and make stops and crossings in the Solomon Islands.”
It would also allow the deployment of armed Chinese police at the request of the Solomon Islands to maintain “public order”.

“Chinese Forces” will also be allowed to protect the “security of Chinese personnel” and “major projects in the Solomon Islands.”

READ MORE

Without the written consent of the other party, neither will be allowed to publicly disclose mission information.
In the months leading up to the PIF leaders’ summit, China signed more than 40 bilateral agreements with Pacific nations.

He also sought a region-wide agreement with 10 countries covering law enforcement, security and data cooperation, which was later frozen after a consensus could not be reached.

What’s Happening at the Pacific Islands Forum?

Mr. Sogaware met with other Pacific island leaders at a forum in Suva, Fiji.
On Wednesday, he met with Mr. Albanese for the first time since the signing of the pact, when the two leaders embraced.

Mr. Albanese told Mr. Sogawara that Australia and the Solomon Islands could do more to develop a “relationship of trust and understanding” between the two countries.

READ MORE

He described the meeting as “very constructive”, stressing that “it would not be in Australia’s interest to have a military base so close to where Australia is”.
US Vice President Kamala Harris previously announced $600 million ($889 million) in Pacific Island funding, announcing that the US would appoint its first-ever envoy to the Pacific and launch its first national strategy. It will also open two new embassies in Kiribati and Tonga.
It was found that China sent two officials to watch the speech that Ms Harris gave via video link.

On Thursday, Pacific leaders will meet behind closed doors to discuss a range of issues, including China’s influence, climate change and COVID-19.