Beijing : The recent signing of a police cooperation agreement between the Solomon Islands and China has raised concerns among several countries, particularly Australia. This agreement comes after the Solomon Islands shifted its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China four years ago. The Solomon Islands had previously recognized Taiwan as an independent country, but since then, its relations with China have grown significantly.
During a meeting between Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing, a series of agreements were signed, including the police cooperation agreement. These agreements are seen as a defining moment for the Solomon Islands’ independent foreign policy. It should be noted that Sogavare had previously signed a security agreement with China in 2022, which had already raised concerns among countries such as the United States and Australia.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang acknowledged the rapid development of relations between China and the Solomon Islands over the past four years, describing it as fruitful. Prime Minister Sogavare expressed gratitude to China for its role in addressing global challenges and stated that his country has much to learn from China’s experience. It is worth mentioning that Sogavare assumed office in the Solomon Islands in 2019 and subsequently shifted diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, with allegations that China played a role in his victory.
The United States, through a spokesman for the National Security Council, stated that it respects the sovereign decisions of nations when made in the best interests of their people. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sogavare recently called for a review of a security treaty with Australia that dates back to 2017. Australia has historically provided police assistance to the Solomon Islands and deployed its police force to help maintain law and order during major riots in 2021. However, the Solomon Islands’ police are now receiving more training from China, and there are reports that China will continue to assist in enhancing the country’s law enforcement capabilities.
During his visit to China, Prime Minister Sogavare also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and both leaders agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership. President Xi expressed support for increased Chinese investment in the Solomon Islands and pledged to provide economic and technical assistance without imposing any political conditions.
The signing of the police cooperation agreement between the Solomon Islands and China has intensified concerns, particularly from Australia, regarding China’s growing influence in the Pacific region. These developments highlight the shifting dynamics of diplomatic relations and geopolitical interests in the region.