Pacific Islands

US to 'respond accordingly' to China military presence in Solomons

April 23, 2022 11:40 am

[Source: 1News]

The Biden administration warns the Solomon Islands that the United States will take unspecified action against the South Pacific nation should its recently-concluded cooperation agreement with China pose a threat to US.

The White House said the message was delivered directly to the country’s leadership by a visiting senior US delegation.

The delegation expressed concern that the deal with China raises questions about its scope and purpose, according to the White House, which also lamented transparency in the agreement and cast doubt on Solomon Islands’ officials’ claims that the deal was purely domestic.

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The visit came just days after China and the Solomons confirmed they had signed a security pact, a development that has alarmed neighbouring countries and Western allies who fear a military buildup in the region.

“Solomon Islands representatives indicated that the agreement had solely domestic applications, but the US delegation noted there are potential regional security implications of the accord, including for the United States and its allies and partners,” the White House said in a statement.

“The US delegation outlined clear areas of concern with respect to the purpose, scope, and transparency of the agreement,” it said.

“If steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation, the delegation noted that the United States would then have significant concerns and respond accordingly.”

There was no indication of what the US response might be.