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The Solomon Islands says a security deal with China won't include a military base

The Solomon Islands says a deal with China won't include a military base

April 4, 2022: -Seeking to counter international fears over its new security alliance with China, the Solomon Islands said Friday it wouldn’t allow China to build a military base there.

But that insistence will do little to make their concerns less about the pact from the nation’s traditional partners, including New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.

The leader of neighboring Micronesia adds his voice to those expressing trepidation by invoking the bloody battles of World War II and warning that the pact could see the South Pacific region become a battleground for much more extensive powers.

Thursday, the Solomon Islands government said that a draft agreement of the recent security pact had been initialed by representatives from the Solomons and China and would be “cleaned up” and signed.

On Friday, in a statement, the Solomon Islands government said that “contrary to the misinformation promoted by anti-government commentators,” the agreement does not invite China to establish a military base.

“Government is conscious of the security ramification of hosting a military base. It will not be careless allowing such initiative under its watch,” the statement said.

The statement seemed to rule out the possibility of a base after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had told parliament it had no intention to ask China to build a base.

Sogavare said his nation sought peace and prosperity, citing its foreign policy mantra, “We are friends to all and enemies to none.” He said it wasn’t a secret deal but a sovereign issue.

Under the terms of the draft agreement, China could send police, military personnel, and other armed forces to the Solomon Islands “to assist in maintaining social order” and for various other reasons. It could also send warships to the islands for stopovers and to replenish supplies, which had led to speculation regarding the possibility of China establishing a naval base on the South Pacific islands.

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