The Solomon Islands, a bone of contention between China and the United States

Joe Biden’s America is threatening China if it installs a military base in the Solomon Islands. A bit like Russia, which does not want a NATO base on its doorstep.

“The foreign ministers of China and the Solomon Islands recently signed the framework agreement on security cooperation,” said a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The agreement would allow China to mobilize Chinese military and police officers in the archipelago “to maintain social order, protect people’s lives and property, provide humanitarian aid or any other assistance.” In other words, China could use the islands as a future naval base in the South Pacific.
The United States responded immediately. It cannot accept a permanent Chinese “military presence” on these islands, whose strategic location is not lost on anyone, and announced “a response accordingly. A delegation of senior U.S. officials went to the Solomon Islands to share their concerns with local authorities.

A strategic location

The Solomon Islands consist of several hundred islands in the South Pacific, populated by 700,000 inhabitants. This archipelago is independent since 1978, but it is part of the Commonwealth.
Its geographical position to the south-east of Papua New Guinea, north of Australia, makes the Solomon Islands a region coveted by the great powers. Beijing has become its largest trading partner in a few years. “In 2018, China accounted for nearly 70% of total exports from the Solomon Islands, according to WHO figures” notes GEO magazine.
It is true that the country is regularly shaken by crises and riots as the NGO Oxfam reminds. It is tempted to “sell” itself to the highest bidder. And it is China which, it seems, signs the biggest checks.
The situation in this part of the world, less than 2,000 km from the Australian coast, is causing a rearmament race in the Indo-Pacific region. The war between Russia and the Ukraine shows the desire of the great powers to establish their zone of influence in a world in transition. Joe Biden’s America does not accept the installation of a Chinese military base in Oceania. But it does not understand that Russia is worried about the presence of NATO bases on its doorstep.
Who knows why?

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