China Expands its Influence in Pacific Region

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A security pact signed between China and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Islands region has alarmed the US, Australia and New Zealand.

  • Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced a security pact with China citing the ‘internal security situation’ of the island nation of 700,000 residents as a primary reason.
  • According to Chinese authorities, the security pact would focus on maintaining social order, protecting people’s safety, aid, combating natural disasters and helping safeguard national security.
  • Solomon Islands has been facing political unrest for many years, with the latest one having taken place in November 2021 when protesters targeted its capital Honiara’s Chinatown.
  • As soon as a draft of the security deal was leaked last week, Zed Seselja, Australia’s minister for pacific affairs, flew to Solomon Islands to discuss the security deal with China.
  • While both China and Solomon Islands maintain that the pact does not allow for China to use the islands as a military base, Australia which is just 2000 km away is alarmed at the implications.
  • Geopolitical experts speculate that this security pact is China’s response to the AUKUS, an alliance between the US, the UK and Australia to help Australia build nuclear submarines.
The Economist
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