While eyes are fixated on Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Chinese military is looking to increase its foothold in the Pacific Ocean, raising concern in the US and its allied nations.
According to Reuters, which cited a leaked draft document authenticated by two individuals familiar with the matter, the Solomon Islands may soon allow the presence of Chinese soldiers and police, as part of a broader security arrangement that is similar to the ones the Pacific nation already has with Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.
Beijing has been looking to boost its military assertiveness and combat the West’s strategic interest in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly after the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China back in 2019. Earlier this year, the US announced plans to open an embassy in the Pacific country to counter Beijing’s influence, while Australia boosted economic activity in the region via financial support.
However, the latest draft agreement between the Solomon Islands and Beijing could lead to permanent Chinese military presence in the South Pacific, further infuriating the West. The document, which has yet to be finalized by the Solomon Island’s cabinet, will see that the People’s Liberation Army vessels are protected by Chinese security while docked in the Solomon Islands, while Chinese military would be called in to restore order and protect Chinese citizens and projects in the event of social unrest.
Analysts cited by the Financial Times raised concerns that the agreement could lead to the Chinese military erecting a logistics base in the country, given that vague language does not specify what kind of security forces China would deploy to the region and under what circumstances. “It benefits only the government because they can call the Chinese in,” said a Solomon Islands politician, adding that it would not strengthen the nation’s security. “We fear that it could undermine stability here.”
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters and the FT. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.