Micronesia asks Solomon Islands to reconsider China security pact

Sydney, Australia, Mar 31 (EFE).- Micronesia asked the Solomon Islands on Thursday to reconsider the signing of a controversial “unprecedented” security pact with China, over fears that geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington would increase in the Pacific.

“My fear is that we – the Pacific Islands – would be at the epicenter of a future confrontation between the major powers,” Micronesian President David Panuelo said in a Wednesday letter to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, released Thursday on Twitter.

The future security agreement, which would allow the Solomons to ask China for military support, is close to being signed, head of Solomon diplomacy Jeremiah Manele and the head of Homeland Security Anthony Veke announced in a Thursday statement.

“The draft of the Framework Agreement will be refined and awaits the signature of the two foreign ministers of both countries,” reads the official text released on Twitter, in which the ministers emphasized that the Solomons seek security alliances with other nations.

This plan has caused concern in Australia and New Zealand, who said it poses a threat to the peace and security of the Pacific, although the Solomon Islands president said Wednesday his government has no intention of asking Beijing to build a military base in the country.

However, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and tensions between the United States and China, the president of Micronesia said in his letter to Sogavare that Pacific countries would be caught up in a potential conflict and suffer “collateral damage” as happened during World War II.

Panuelo said security agreements in the region would leave the fight against the climate crisis – already noticeable in these countries – in the background and open the door for the Pacific “to become fragmented and (nations) to become tools for the spheres of power.”

The Solomon Islands, a historical strategic partner of Australia, changed its foreign policy in 2019 after changing its alliance with Taiwan to recognize China, something that has caused tensions both with its traditional partners and within the country. EFE


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