Australia’s foreign minister has slammed the “secret” China-Solomon Islands security deal and warned that “no document signed and withheld from the public” would change Canberra’s commitment to defending the Pacific region.
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Marise Payne told reporters that the deal was “not transparent”, adding that unlike Australia’s existing security agreement with the Solomon Islands, the details of the deal would be kept secret from neighboring countries.
The deal between Beijing and the nation of hundreds of South Pacific islands has been criticized as “Australia’s worst foreign policy failure in the Pacific in decades”. The guard called. So what’s in it – and why is it so important?
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The deal, announced Tuesday after some details were leaked online, “is not anti-third party” and runs “parallel and complementary to the Solomon Islands’ existing bilateral and multilateral security cooperation mechanisms,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said .
He said the pact, about which no specific details have been released, shows Beijing’s commitment to helping “bolster” the island’s “capacity-building” to maintain its own security, adding that areas of cooperation “enable the maintenance of the social order, protection of people’s life and property, humanitarian aid and response to natural disasters”.
Wang ‘did not mention details of military cooperation’ The South China Morning Post reported. But “there was speculation that the deal would allow China’s navy, police and armed forces to be stationed in the country.”
The Solomon Islands have denied that Chinese troops could be stationed on their territory. However, Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews later told reporters it was “very likely” that Beijing would deploy ground forces as a result of the security deal.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been forced to rely on his counterpart Manasseh Sogavare’s “public promises” that the islands “would not allow a Chinese military base or sustained military presence,” added The Guardian.
The US was quick to threaten “military action” should China attempt to send in “police and military personnel” as part of the pact. The Independent reported.
Daniel Kritenbrink, US assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the deal presented “potential regional security implications” for the US and its allies, adding, “We wanted to make our friends in the Solomon Islands aware of our concerns.” are.
“We respect the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands. But we also let them know that we would have significant concerns if steps were taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, and we would respond very naturally to those concerns.”
The announcement of the security pact, which comes just weeks before the polls in Australia’s national elections, put “the actions of a foreign state” at the “focus” of a Prime Minister’s campaign “for the first time in decades”. Reuters called.
Morrison, the incumbent, “saw a hawkish stance on China as an electoral strength,” the news outlet added. But while the impact of the Solomon Islands deal is “resonating” across the country, it has put the Prime Minister’s Conservative Liberal Party “legally behind on national security” amid claims they are making Australia “less secure”.
Despite the sparse details, it is widely agreed that the deal “enables the movement of China’s troops and armed police to it [Sogavare’s] nation and the docking of their warships,” said The times’ Sydney-based correspondent Bernard Lagan. This is said to protect “the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects” on the islands.
Some military experts even believe Beijing’s “cargo planes are likely to arrive in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, before Australians go to the polls next month,” he added. Chinese access to a port in Australia’s “near north” has been “feared for a long time”.
China observer Aadil Brar said the formal China-Solomon Islands deal represents a Pacific “power shift” that came about as a result of “Asia-Pacific restraint” by the US and its allies.
In an opinion piece for The pressurean Indian news site, he argued that the pact “puts the US and its allies in a difficult position,” explaining that Washington’s historical “reluctance to deal with its Presence in the Pacific has left a void for China to fill”.
With all the “hand-wringing in Canberra over the security deal,” the warning signs have been there, he added. “Australia knew about the Solomon Islands deal days before the document was leaked, as a last resort to delay it.”
But it was too little too late. The US strategy for Pacific supremacy “is now at stake” as “Chinese military ships continue to advance abroad,” Brar warned.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/world-news/china/956568/why-australia-furious-over-china-secret-solomon-islands-security-deal Why Australia is furious about China’s ‘secret’ security deal with the Solomon Islands