Is troop position possible?
China and the Solomon Islands decide on controversial cooperation
04/19/2022, 12:13 p.m.
China is cooperating with the island nation of Solomon Islands to ensure security there. However, neighboring Australia and New Zealand are skeptical of other plans and even consider it possible to stop the troops. The agreement did not preclude US intervention.
The Solomon Islands Group in the South Pacific has closed its controversial defense cooperation agreement with China, despite opposition from its neighbors Australia and New Zealand. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenpin told reporters in Beijing that Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his representative Jeremiah Manel had “recently” signed the relevant structural agreement.
The spokesman said the cooperation would include maintaining social order, protecting people and protecting property, humanitarian aid and responding to natural disasters. The Solomon Islands government must also help develop its own defense capabilities. The spokesman did not provide any specific details. “China-Solomon Islands Security Cooperation aims to promote social stability and long-term peace in the islands,” the spokesman said. The cooperation was not aimed at other countries, and Wang Wenpin responded to concerns from neighboring Australia, New Zealand and the United States by asking the Solomon Islands not to sign the agreement.
The U.S. government, led by Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell, is sending a senior delegation to the Solomon Islands this week. U.S. State Department spokesman Nate Price warned in Washington that the broader nature of the agreement “opens the door to the deployment of the People’s Republic of Armed Forces.” He also expressed concern that cooperation could destabilize the Solomon Islands.
Serious riots erupted in November after the archipelago relinquished Taiwan’s diplomatic recognition and established relations with Beijing, which were also directed against Chinese merchants. Australia has sent troops and police to the Solomon Islands due to unrest. Chinese leaders do not allow their diplomatic partners to maintain relations with both Taipei and Beijing because they see democratic Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic.
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