Beijing: In a development that can increase the West’s concerns over China’s increasing hold in the South Pacific region, the latter said on Tuesday that it has signed a security pack with the Solomon Islands.
China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Solomon Islands Foreign minister Manele recently signed the framework pact. China is all set to send its officers to the island nation next month to sign the pact.
The move means Chinese military could be stationed on the island which is less than 2,000 km from Australia.
Just a day earlier, US had said its delegation would visit Solomon Islands to discuss its concerns and discourage such an agreement. Last week, an Australian minister had met PM Manasseh Sogavare to persuade him not to sign the framework pact.
Commenting on US’s planned visit to the island’s capital, Honiara, Chinese spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that Western powers were deliberately exaggerating tensions over the pact. He added that “attempts to interfere and obstruct the cooperation of island countries with China are… doomed to fail”.
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