Solomon Islands

CrisisWatch Solomon Islands

Unchanged Situation

Authorities signed security pact with Beijing, which provoked concern among U.S. and its allies over potential future Chinese military presence on islands. After leaked draft surfaced in March of security pact between govt and China, which reportedly included provision on establishing permanent Chinese military base on islands, govt 1 April announced that it “is conscious of the security ramification of hosting a military base, and it will not be careless to allow such initiative to take place under its watch”. News of pact triggered international concern among U.S. and its allies. U.S. Deputy Sec of State Wendy Sherman 12 April held call with FM Jeremiah Manele about reopening U.S. embassy in capital Honiara after 29 years. Australian envoy next day visited Honiara and met PM Manasseh Sogavare, requesting govt “respectfully to consider not signing the agreement” with Beijing. Sogavare 20 April confirmed deal had been signed with China. U.S. National Security Council Indo-Pacific Coordinator Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink 22 April visited Honiara and met Sogavare; statement following meeting said U.S. would have “significant concerns and respond accordingly” if “steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation”. Australian PM Scott Morrison 24 April described Chinese military base as “red line” for Australia. Japanese Vice FM Kentaro Uesugi 26 April met Sogavare, reportedly expressing Japan’s concern over security pact.

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