Leading security experts question the Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s latest claim that Australia remains the country’s top security partner over China.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manase Sogavale will not be able to withstand any pressure from Beijing, according to Malcolm Davis of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).
Mr Davis told the AAP in Canberra on October 10 that “Mr Sogavare relies on Chinese money to stay in power and I doubt he will be able to resist Chinese pressure”.
“They came with money in suitcases to ensure that he and those around him supported the extension of his position, his role as prime minister.”
Ann Survey by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Issued in August.
The comments from Davis came after Sogavare visited Australia and met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Canberra on 6 October, but no joint press conference was held.
“As proud Pacific nations, Australia and the Solomon Islands have a deep and enduring history underpinned by strong people-to-people ties and shared democratic values. Joint statement after the meeting.
“Prime Ministers Sogavarre and Albanese reaffirmed their commitment to mutual security and their Pacific Family First approach to peace and security in the region.”
“Prime Minister Sogavare welcomed Australia’s $16.68 million commitment to support the 2023 Pacific Games and assist in the upcoming Solomon Islands elections.”
Australian election funding used to destabilize bilateral relations
Sogavare has successfully postponed the Solomon Islands national elections scheduled for September and extended his term as prime minister.
The pro-Beijing prime minister said the reason for the postponement was that his government could not afford to hold elections at the same time as the Pacific Games scheduled for late 2023.
In response to the allegations, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said the Australian government would be happy to fund the campaign.
Sogavale first responded by calling the proposal “foreign interference” and an “attack” on Solomon’s democracy. But he said he would accept the offer anyway.
“Now that they have offered, brothers, be prepared to cover the costs. “Then, if you offer, be prepared to give us the money you said you wanted to give us.”
Wong’s move was criticized for “using Sogavare’s hand” to divert public attention.
Blake Johnson, an analyst with the Australian Institute for Strategic Policy, said: “At a time like this, it will only provoke anger in Sogavare and give the Solomon Islands public ammunition to distract them from their real internal problems.” Stated. Said examiner.
“He succeeded in shifting what the public is now talking about to whether or not Australia should fund the election. This is not the first problem the Solomon Islands faced.”
Security Agreement Brings Chinese Bases
Davis, on the other hand, believes that Sogavare is trying to maintain close ties with both countries, but is ultimately dependent on Beijing.
“I don’t know how he can take this assurance seriously that we were the security partner of choice when he signed the security agreement with China,” he told the AAP.
“He signed a security agreement with China that would eventually give China a base in the Solomon Islands.”
A controversial security deal signed between the Solomon Islands and the Chinese Communist Party, which was officially confirmed in April, has raised strong concerns about the communist regime’s influence in the Pacific.
Both the United States and Australia expressed deep concerns over the deal, even though Prime Minister Sogavare promised that the Solomon Islands would never be used for military bases or other military installations by foreign powers.
Beijing ‘Suppressing Truth, Spreading Lies’: Report
Davis’ comments came amid ASPI’s latest discovery that Beijing spread false information during protests that rocked the Solomon Islands last year.
According to a report published on October 5, “Suppressing Truth and Spreading Lies: How the Chinese Communist Party Is Affecting the Information Environment in the Solomon IslandsThe Chinese Communist Party spread “fabricated narratives” about Australia, the United States and Taiwan, inciting riots in the Solomon Islands during mass protests in the Solomon Islands capital in November 2021. .
“The story was pushed through the Communist Party’s media (both English and Chinese) through statements of Chinese officials shared by the Chinese embassy, published in local media, and quoted by local journalists.” Read the report.
David Yotarn Lee, an adjunct professor at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University Graduate School of Development Studies, agreed with Davis that the Solomon Islands could hardly resist pressure from Beijing.
“What a good relationship with the Solomon Islands! [used to] with Australia! “But no matter how well you handle it, the CCP will take bribes,” Lee previously told the Epoch Times. [its officials]”
“Australia will inevitably face consequences such as: [the CCP’s] It’s a dangerous expansion,” he said.
“So I think Australia needs to wake up more. It plays an important role in the conflict between liberal democracy and dictatorship.”
Daniel Y. Teng contributed to this article.