Sydney, Australia, Oct 21 (EFE).- Australia announced Friday an allocation of AUD46 million (some $29 million) for the deployment of its police to the Solomon Islands.
The deployment is part of a bilateral security treaty between the countries to help maintain order in the island country.
Australia has deployed some 300 military and police officers since violent riots broke out in Honiara in November 2021.
New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have also sent police and defense personnel to the island nation.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong, who was in French Polynesia on Friday, said the budget commitments to regional cooperation was a “major step toward the goal of making Australia stronger and more influential in the world,” public broadcaster ABC reported.
The AUD46 million allocated to its police operations in the Solomon Islands is part of the AUD900 million the Oceania nation will allocate to the Pacific region over the next four years.
“Our assistance will help our regional partners become more economically resilient, develop critical infrastructure and provide their own security so they have less need to call on others,” the Australian foreign minister said.
The aid, which is part of the budget that will be presented on Tuesday, comes amid growing concerns in the West after the signing of a security pact between China and the Solomon Islands in April, which includes the deployment of Chinese police at Honiara’s request.
Under that pact, the island country last week sent more than 30 police officers to China for training in firearms and martial art techniques.
The Australian government is trying to counter China’s growing influence in the region and restore confidence in a region that has felt neglected, especially with regards to its demands for Australia, one of the largest polluters per capita, to adopt measures against the climate crisis. EFE