torsdag 31. mars 2022

Pacific leader urges Solomon Islands to rethink China security deal

The president of the Federated States of Micronesia has sent an impassioned plea to the Solomon Islands’ prime minister, urging him to reconsider a controversial and “unprecedented” security pact with China.

President David Panuelo voiced “grave security concerns about this proposed agreement” in a 30 March letter released by his government on Thursday, citing rising tensions between China and the United States. “My fear is that we – the Pacific islands – would be at the epicentre of a future confrontation between these major powers,” Panuelo wrote.

A leaked draft of the wide-ranging security agreement sparked rebuke from the United States, Australia and New Zealand last week because it would allow Chinese security and naval deployments to the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands’ prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, dismissed critics of the deal in a fiery speech on Tuesday, saying it was “very insulting... to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs” by other nations.