Experts added that the Chinese Communist Party was able to secure a controversial security agreement with the Solomon Islands by taking advantage of the domestic politics of the Pacific island nations, experts said. Against Beijing’s expanding influence in the region.
Signed earlier this week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), with the consent of the Solomon Islands, dispatched police, troops, weapons, and even naval vessels to “Safety of Chinese Personnel and the Solomon Islands.” Based on the page leaked from the document.
Concerns from the United States and its allies have aroused concerns that the deal will be used by Beijing to establish a military footprint in the region and will destabilize the Indo-Pacific. The Solomon Islands occupy a strategic position in the Pacific Ocean, less than 1,200 miles from Australia.
A senior U.S. delegation met with Solomon Islands leaders on April 22 to “have serious concerns and respond to Washington’s serious concerns about all steps taken to establish a permanent Chinese military presence in the Pacific island nations. Correspond. “
According to a White House statement, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavale sent a delegation led by White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell to a military base, a long-term presence, and a signed security agreement. With China, who repeatedly stated that it would not have the power projection capability in.
The White House hasn’t said anything about what the U.S. will respond to such a situation, but its dull tone raises the level of U.S. concern that it has sent Campbell’s mission to remote islands this week. Was showing.
“If steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power projection capability, or military installation, the delegation notes that the United States has serious concerns and will respond accordingly. I did. “
“The United States has emphasized that it will closely follow progress in consultation with its regional partners.”
China’s military base in the South Pacific will significantly change the balance of power in the region, according to Satoru Nagao, a non-resident fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
“If the Chinese Navy establishes a base in the South Pacific, it will be more difficult to track Chinese naval vessels in the Pacific. China will always be near Hawaii and other regions between the United States and Australia. Can be deployed to attack Alaska and the west coast of the United States, “said Nagao, based in Tokyo.
According to Cleo Pascal, a senior non-resident researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies based in Washington, the security agreement has benefited both Sogavale and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. According to her, the agreement was actually an agreement between the two leaders, not an agreement between the two countries.
It is “designed to protect China [People’s Republic of China] “Retaining domestic status and Sogavale’s power,” he added, adding that the deal is not widely popular in the 700,000 island nation.
“If, as planned, there will be free and fair elections in 2023, [Sogavare] You may lose. If he loses, the new government is likely to cancel the deal and perhaps even return to Taiwan, “Pascal said.
“It will hurt Xi’s fame in China and expose him to domestic political attacks, which makes the investigation of Sogavale’s activities more likely,” she said. I added.
Solomon switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019. This switch was one of the reasons why the island became uneasy in November and arson and looting occurred in the capital Honiara.
Domestic politics in the Solomon Islands and China means that both Sogavale and the West need their security partnerships to maintain and deepen, Pascal said. .. “
Brent Sadler, a senior researcher at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, said Sogavale would be the worst scenario for island nations if Sogavale used security agreements to invite Chinese troops to curb political conflicts with rivals. I told the Epoch Times.
“When that happens, it will be very difficult to roll back the presence of Chinese troops there,” Sadler said.
Given the domestic situation, Pascal urged Campbell to use his visit to establish a relationship with the voices of domestic opponents.
“If they only meet the corrupt parent PRC Sogavale, they are only strengthening his fame in the country,” Pascal said, and Campbell’s delegation was instead one of the opposition leaders, the Prime Minister. He added that the department should meet with the local chief. Religious leaders, and groups of women who came out against the deal.
If they do, “they show that they really want to work with the majority of Solomons to build democracy, transparency, accountability, and the rule of law. It’s a way forward. “
Coordination between Australia and the United States
Experts have long argued that the United States has outsourced policymaking in the region to Australia, but with this development, it can no longer afford to take a backseat. Currently, between the countries of the informal Japan-US-Australia-India Strategic Dialogue Group (Quad) (Australia, India, US, Japan) to counter the independent US policy on the Pacific Islands and China’s influence in the region. There are also calls for stronger coordination.
Washington has just begun to deal with Washington by announcing that it will reopen its embassy in February, with nearly zero “diplomatic presence” in the Solomon Islands, Sudler said.
Australia can rely on to address issues with the Pacific island nations, but the Biden administration needs to be more proactive in issuing public statements on the issue, and in cooperation with Australia, Sadler is the only Washington. “We can even argue for the benefit of the United States,” where allies are concerned. “
“The United States needs to adapt to the South and Central Pacific more than ever,” he added.
Pascal argued that Canberra’s Australian government was able to deal with the coercion of China’s government domestically, but did not encourage the same in the Pacific island nations.
“I’ve heard from multiple sources that more direct and effective involvement by countries such as the United States has been discouraged by Canberra’s Pacific experts because it can’stimulate’China.” Stated.
“This is a fundamental misconception about how CCPs operate. CCPs extend until they stop, and yet it doesn’t stop, it just looks for other ways to move forward.”
Mr Nagao of the Hudson Institute said greater coordination between quad countries is needed in the region to counter China’s regime. He said Beijing has invested heavily in the South Pacific over the past few decades, which is why the Chinese Communist Party is so successful.
“But the recent disaster in Tonga has been coordinated by the US-Australia-Japan to help Tonga well. If the US-Australia-Japan and India work together well, the quad will push China’s influence back. “It can be done,” Nagao said, referring to the massive volcanic eruption and tsunami that struck Tonga in January.
Experts added that quad work on the Pacific Islands is just beginning and needs to be maintained to have a long-term impact.
Reuters contributed to this report.