Solomon Islands: US ‘react’ as China places military base in Solomon Islands: W House – Times of India


WASHINGTON: The United States warned on Friday that it would “respond accordingly” if China installs a military base in the strategic Solomon Islands after the small Pacific state signed a security pact with Beijing.
The White House said a high-level US delegation had told the Solomon Islands leadership that the recently signed pact has “potential regional security implications” for Washington and its allies.
“If steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power projection capabilities or military installation, the delegation noted that the United States would be very concerned and respond accordingly,” the White House said.
Indo-Pacific National Security Council Coordinator Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink this week led the delegation, which also included Pentagon officials, to the US state of Hawaii, then Fiji, Papua New Guinea. and the Solomon Islands.
The Solomons shutdown came right after China confirmed it had signed a broad-based security pact seen in Washington as part of a struggle for diplomatic influence and strategic positioning over the Pacific and its trade routes.
Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has tried to reassure Washington and his ally Australia that the agreement with China does not include the establishment of a military base.
According to the White House statement, “Sogavare reiterated his specific assurances that there would be no military base, no sustained presence and no power projection capability, as he has said publicly.”
“The United States has emphasized that it will closely monitor developments in consultation with regional partners,” the statement said.
During a 90-minute meeting with Sogavare and two dozen members of his cabinet and senior staff, U.S. officials discussed accelerated opening of a U.S. embassy, ​​health care assistance, vaccine deliveries and strengthened “people-to-people ties,” the White House said. . †

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