China “ensures the security” of the Solomon Islands and imposes itself in the Pacific – Le Monde

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, October 9, 2019. MARK SCHIEFELBEIN / AP C’ is a major setback for Australia and the United States. China said Tuesday (April 19) that it had signed a framework security cooperation agreement with the Solomon Islands, an archipelago of 700,000 people located about 1,500 kilometers northeast of Australia. The agreement was signed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Solomon Islands counterpart Jeremiah Manele. Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not say where or when the deal was struck, but the announcement was made hours before a high-level US delegation sent by the White House does not fly to this archipelago of Melanesia to share Washington’s concerns. For his part, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, indicated on Wednesday April 20 that the agreement had been signed “with open eyes” but refused to indicate when the content would be made public. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Security agreement with the Solomon Islands: China does not lose sight of the Pacific front The Reuters agency revealed in March the content of the letter of intent signed by the Minister of Police of the Solomon Islands, Anthony Veke, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Xiaohong, Deputy Minister of Public Security. It provides that the Solomon Islands, which occupies a central place on the front line between the United States and China in the ocean region, “may, according to their needs, request China to send police, military and other armed forces, to maintain social order, protect human life and property, provide humanitarian aid, or any other form of assistance”. For its part, China, “according to its own needs, will be able to carry out visits with its boats, to provide logistical resupply, conduct stopovers and transits. Appropriate Chinese forces may be used to protect the safety of workers and major Chinese projects in the Solomon Islands.” “A worrying precedent” In November 2021, riots shook the archipelago, opposing the inhabitants of the main island of Guadalcanal to those of Malaita, whose populations maintain old rivalries. Manasseh Sogavare had claimed that demonstrators protesting against the deterioration of their living conditions were manipulated by those who oppose his decision, taken in 2019, to no longer maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, for the benefit of Beijing. More than 200 soldiers and gendarmes from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea were then deployed in the archipelago to restore order. You have 47.12% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.