China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands

The draft agreement was signed at the end of March by representatives of the Solomon Islands and China. On Tuesday, Fang announced that the two countries’ foreign ministers had signed the agreement in its final form. Under the agreement, China could send police and military forces to the Solomon Islands to help the local government maintain social order and eliminate local threats. In addition, Chinese warships may dock in the island nation to recruit supplies.

The agreement was subjected to many criticisms, fearing that it would lead to the militarization of the region. Among other countries, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and the United States have expressed concerns about the agreement. Even in response to the news of the draft, the Australian Defense Minister said that if China builds a military base in the Solomon Islands, Australia will significantly increase its military presence in the region because the Solomon Islands are so close to the country.

Manasseh Sogavari, Solomon Islands’ prime minister, said in early April that he would not allow China to set up a military base in the island nation because it was aware of its security implications.

China’s Foreign Ministry said regarding the draft that security cooperation is not directed against a third country and is not intended to create tensions. According to Beijing, the agreement between the two countries covers social order, protection of life and property and prevention of natural disasters.

The Pacific archipelago established formal diplomatic relations with Beijing in 2019, and severed official ties with Taiwan. China regards Taiwan as an inalienable part of its territory, and considers adherence to the “one-China principle” a prerequisite for diplomatic relations.

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