US warns it will respond if China has permanent military presence in Solomon Islands

By Kirsty Needham and David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina

SYDNEY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior U.S. delegation met with the Solomon Islands leader on Friday and warned that Washington would have “significant concerns and respond accordingly” to any action to establish China’s permanent military presence in the nation. Pacific.

A White House statement said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare reiterated to the delegation led by White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell that there would be no military base, long-term presence or deployment capability. power under a new security agreement signed with China.

The White House did not indicate what the US response would be in this case, but the blunt tone highlighted the level of US concern that drove Campbell’s delegation to the remote island this week.

“If steps are taken to establish a permanent military presence, power projection capabilities or military installations, the delegation noted that the US would have significant concerns and would respond accordingly,” he said.

“The United States emphasized that it will follow developments closely, in consultation with its regional partners.”

The statement said the US delegation outlined specific steps Washington would take to improve the well-being of the people of the Solomon Islands, including accelerating the opening of an embassy there and sending the hospital ship Mercy to handle health issues. He said Washington would also deliver more vaccines and advance climate and health initiatives.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham in Sydney and David Brunnstrom, Michael Martina and Chris Gallagher in Washington)

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