China Takes Over the Solomon Islands — And the Pacific

- GATESTONE INSTITUTE - Gordon G. Chang - MAR 31, 2022 -

Communist China is moving across the Pacific from island group to island group, and soon the People's Liberation Army will be in striking distance of Hawaii. China's new five-year deal with the Solomon Islands, subject to automatic renewals, will allow Beijing to use the islands to base its military and to do pretty much what the Chinese military wants. Pictured: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shows the way to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, in Beijing on October 9, 2019. (Photo by Thomas Peter/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
  • China, after years of persistent commercial, diplomatic, and military efforts, is taking over the Pacific.

  • Beijing is moving from island group to island group, and soon the People's Liberation Army will be in striking distance of Hawaii.

  • The five-year deal, subject to automatic renewals, will allow Beijing to use the islands to base its military and to do pretty much what the Chinese military wants.

  • If implemented to its full extent, the Framework Agreement will give China the ability to sever shipping lanes and air links connecting the U.S. with its treaty ally Australia and partner New Zealand.

  • For decades, Washington allowed Canberra and Wellington to manage the Solomons and its region.... Beijing, through payoffs now detailed in public, essentially owns Sogavare's government.

  • There is now talk that China will ink a security agreement with Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia.

  • Moreover, China wants to upgrade an airstrip in Kiribati. Beijing says the improvements are for civilian purposes only, yet the military uses are apparent and no one believes the Chinese assurances.

  • The facility is just 1,900 miles south of Hawaii. In Pacific terms, Kiribati is America's next-door neighbor.

On March 25, the Solomon Islands announced it was "expanding" security arrangements, "diversifying the country's security partnership including with China."


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The announcement was defensive. The day before, opponents of a security pact with China leaked what was labeled a "draft" agreement. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's government did not confirm the authenticity of the leaked document, but observers believe he intends that version to be final. Australia, which expressed "great concern," confirmed the draft as authentic.


The pact, titled "Framework Agreement Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Solomon Islands on Security Cooperation," highlights a disturbing trend: China, after years of persistent commercial, diplomatic, and military efforts, is taking over the Pacific.


Beijing is moving from island group to island group, and soon the People's Liberation Army will be in striking distance of Hawaii.


Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tells Gatestone the Framework Agreement was a "unilateral decision by Sogavare." "There has been no public consultation," she pointed out.


The five-year deal, subject to automatic renewals, will allow Beijing to use the islands to base its military and to do pretty much what Chinese generals and admirals want. "China," the pact states in Article I, "may, according to its own needs and with the consent of Solomon Islands, make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in Solomon Islands, and the relevant forces of China can be used to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands."


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