The Solomon Islands has signed an agreement to boost cooperation with China on “law enforcement and security matters,” in a move likely to raise concerns among the South Pacific island’s traditional partners including Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
As part of efforts to build a “comprehensive strategic partnership” the sides agreed to: “Enhance cooperation on law enforcement and security matters.”
In the wake of Sogavare’s warming relationship with Beijing, the U.S. has committed to reopen an American Embassy in the capital Honiara.
Sogavare also met with president and head of the ruling Communist Party Xi Jinping on Monday, and the joint statement included a reference to “high-quality” cooperation under Xi’s signature “Belt and Road” blueprint that aims to build ports, highways, power stations and other infrastructure financed by Chinese loans.
The infrastructure project has produced tangible, but not always practical, results for countries lacking other forms of financing and has left many recipients in deep debt to China with little sign of relief.
Solomon Islands has already secured a USD 66 million loan from the government’s Exim Bank of China to erect 161 mobile towers built and run by Chinese communications giant Huawei. In 2018, the Solomons awarded Huawei a contract.
China-Solomon Islands deals
Security agreement: In April 2022, China and the Solomon Islands signed a security agreement that has been met with concern by Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Establishment of Diplomatic Relations: In September 2019, Solomon Islands severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with China.
Economic cooperation: China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner, and the two countries have signed a number of economic cooperation agreements.These agreements cover areas such as infrastructure development, trade, and investment.
Cultural cooperation: China and the Solomon Islands have also signed a number of cultural cooperation agreements to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.