Sydney, Australia, Jul 14 (EFE).- Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare ruled out establishing a Chinese military base in his country to preserve the security of the strategic Pacific region, according to New Zealand state media Thursday.
Sogavare, at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ summit held in Fiji until Thursday, said in an interview with Radio New Zealand that ” it is in nobody’s interest” that “no military base be established in any Pacific Island country, much less the Solomon Islands.”
“The moment we establish a foreign military base, we immediately become an enemy. And we also make our country and our people the target of possible military attacks,” said the president, whose government changed its alliance with Taiwan in 2019 to favor China.
Sogavare signed an opaque security agreement with Beijing in April, which opens the door to sending Chinese security forces to this nation at the request of Honiara.
This agreement, which also allows Chinese ships to “visit” the Solomon Islands, raised alerts from countries such as the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the two Pacific powers, as well as from several island nations, including those that maintain their alliance. with Taiwan.
In this sense, Sogavare said he would only request the dispatch of the Chinese security forces in the event that Australia, his main security partner, cannot provide him with the required assistance.
“Let me assure everyone again that there is no military base, or any other military installation or institution in the agreement. And I think that is a very important point that we continue to reiterate to the family in the region,” he said.
The Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is also in Fiji and held a meeting with Sogavare the day before, told Australian television Channel Nine on Thursday that “he is very confident” China will not establish military bases in the Pacific.
Albanese is participating in the Fiji summit to reaffirm its commitment to the Pacific, while Washington announced Wednesday it would appoint its first envoy to the Forum and open two new embassies, one in Tonga and one in Kiribati, among other cooperation measures.
The summit is marked by the growing influence of China, which intends to sign a regional agreement with a dozen Pacific nations, in addition to the climate crisis and the announcement of the departure of the Kiribati Forum. Kiribati, like the Solomon Islands, also changed its alliance with Taiwan in 2019 in favor of Beijing. EFE