US says it will act if China sets up base in Solomon Islands

Manasseh Sogavare “specifically assured that there would be no military base, long-term presence or force projection capabilities,” Washington said.

The United States warned the Solomon Islands that it will act “consequently” if China installs a “permanent military presence” in the Pacific archipelago after signing a controversial security agreement, the White House reported this Friday (04.22.2022).

The high-level US delegation that visited the Solomon Islands explained to Solomon Islands leaders that if Beijing ever “establishes a de facto permanent military presence,” the United States “will respond accordingly,” Washington said in a statement. And it will do the same in the event that a “military installation” or “force projection capabilities” are established that allow a Chinese deployment in the region, the source stressed.

Representatives from the White House and the State Department traveled to the Solomon Islands on Friday, where they met with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. Washington wanted to convince the archipelago not to sign an agreement with Beijing, but on April 19 it became official.

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“In response to concerns raised, Prime Minister Sogavare reiterated his assurances and specifically assured that there would be no military base, long-term presence, or force projection capabilities,” the US presidency said in a statement. “The United States stressed that it would closely follow developments along with its regional partners,” he said.

The US delegation also insisted on the “potential implications for regional security”, and questioned, during “substantial discussions”, “the objective, scope and transparency of the agreement”.

The American teams, which claim to “respect the right” of the Solomon Islands to make “their sovereign decisions”, worked to earn their trust with a series of decisions. Among them, the acceleration of the opening of a US Embassy, ​​​​the reinforcement of cooperation in mine matters, the sending of a hospital ship or the delivery of additional vaccines. In addition, the two countries have agreed to launch a “high-level strategic dialogue” that will focus on the sensitive issue of security.

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