China wary of high-level visit by US officials to Solomon Islands

beijing [China]April 20 (ANI): As high-level US officials begin their visit to the Solomon Islands, Chinese media said this visit to the South Pacific archipelago is an attempt to nullify the security pact already signed.

China and the Solomon Islands signed a framework agreement on security cooperation on Tuesday that neighbors in the South Pacific archipelago fear could open the door to a Chinese naval base in the country.

“After Australia failed to convince the Solomon Islands to thwart the security deal with China, senior US officials plan to travel to the country this week in a bid to void the already signed security pact, which will be a rare high-level visit. with pressure. by the superpower,” Chinese state-run media Global Times said in a report.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the security agreement, saying it would involve China cooperating with Honiara to maintain social order, protect people’s safety, assist, combat natural disasters and help safeguard national security, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

At a press conference, Wenbin defended the signing of security cooperation with the Solomon Islands, saying the deal “is not directed at any third party.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the two countries formally signed a framework pact on security cooperation.

The cooperation represents normal exchanges between two sovereign and independent states and constitutes an important part of their all-round cooperation, he said.

Officials from the United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand expressed concern on Tuesday about a proposed security framework between the Solomon Islands and China and its “serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific.” High-level US officials convened a meeting in Honolulu with top officials from Australia, Japan, and New Zealand on developments in the Pacific Islands on April 18.

“We will do this in an increasingly close partnership with Pacific Island nations, including through a united Pacific Islands Forum; and together with like-minded countries, within and outside the region, including in Europe. “, reads the White House statement.

“Officials from the four countries represented also shared concerns about a proposed security framework between the Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

The meeting was part of regular and extensive US consultations with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific and is part of the senior administration’s trip announced this week to Hawaii, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. (AND ME)

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