You U.S warned the Solomon Islands that they would act “in agreement” if the China installing a “permanent military presence” in the Pacific archipelago, following the signing of a controversial security agreement, the White House said on Friday.
The high-level American delegation that visited the site explained to Solomon Islands leaders that if Beijing “establishes a de facto permanent military presence”, the United States “will respond accordingly”, according to a presidency statement.
And they will do the same if a “military installation” or “force projection capabilities” are established that allow a Chinese deployment in the region, he said.
Representatives from the White House and the State Department traveled to the Solomon Islands on Friday, where they met with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
Washington wanted to convince the archipelago not to sign an agreement with Beijing, but on Tuesday (19) it was made official.
“In response to the concerns raised, Prime Minister Sogavare reiterated his assurances and specifically assured that there would be no military base, long-term presence or force projection capability,” the statement said.
“The United States emphasized that it would closely monitor developments along with its regional partners,” he said.
The delegation also insisted on the “potential implications for regional security” and questioned, during “substantial discussions”, “the objective, scope and transparency of the agreement”.
The Americans, who say they “respect the right” of the Solomon Islands to make “its sovereign decisions”, have struggled to win its trust with a series of decisions.
These include accelerating the opening of a US embassy, strengthening mine cooperation, dispatching a hospital ship and delivering additional vaccines.
The two countries also pledged to launch a “high-level strategic dialogue” that will focus on the sensitive issue of security.