Tuesday, April 19, 2022

China signs the security agreement with the Solomon Islands, drawing criticism from the US and Australia

    Tuesday, April 19, 2022   No comments

The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday, that Beijing and the Solomon Islands signed a joint security cooperation agreement.

The official Chinese CGTN network quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying that "officials from China and the Solomon Islands signed a framework agreement for bilateral security cooperation."

"The security cooperation framework signed by China and Solomon Islands does not target any third party, and does not conflict with the existing bilateral or multilateral security cooperation mechanisms of the Solomon Islands," the Chinese newspaper, Global Times, quoted the Chinese foreign minister as saying.

On the other hand, the United States expressed its concern over China's conclusion of a security agreement with the Solomon Islands, to which a delegation of senior American diplomats went, in an effort to "thwart Beijing's expansion" in this strategic region.

"Despite the statements of the Solomon Islands government, the broad nature of the security agreement leaves the door open for the People's Republic of China to deploy military forces in the Solomon Islands," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

In turn, Australia asked the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavarre, not to sign the security agreement with China.

Two days ago, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed that "Australia will continue to cooperate with the Solomon Islands on security issues."

The Chinese government respended to US criticism by asking: "Why does the US bother to visit an island country where its embassy has been shut down for 29 years? To care about the country's development status or try to achieve other purposes?" 

The timing and the rhetoric signal that China is using current events to emphacize Western states' double standard by connecting the issues of the Solomon Islands, Taiwan, and Ukraine. The Chinese leaders seem unconvinced of the need to speak against Russia's war in Ukraine because of the utility of Putin's justification of his operation in Ukraine to China's security concerns related to US and EU support to Taiwan and US and Australia's objection to an agreement with the Solomon Islands: If Ukraine has the right to join NATO,  Solomon Islands, too, should have the right to enter into security agreement with China.

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