Top American officials meeting in Honiara to discuss China pact

Honiara's port Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONIARA, Apr 22, 2022, RNZ. Top United States officials are meeting with the Solomon Islands government today as Honiara’s security pact with China continues to simmer. The White House officials, who are led by Kurt Campbell, President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, are on a tour of three Pacific Island countries, Radio New Zealand reported.

The controversial China-Solomon Islands security pact was signed this week with Australia, New Zealand, and the US all raising concerns that it will open doors for Chinese military into the Pacific.

The draft text of the deal, which was leaked online last month, says Chinese warships could stop in Honiara and China could send police and armed forces there “to assist in maintaining social order.”

The final text has not been released although there are calls both locally and regionally for it to be made public.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has rejected claims that the deal will be damaging for the region, and that his country is only acting to protect its national interest.

The US embassy in Port Moresby has said the US delegation has discussed the China-Solomon Islands agreement with Fiji and Papua New Guinea over the past two days.

The embassy’s statement also said Campbell’s delegation will also discuss “plans to open a U.S. embassy in Honiara”.

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