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Washington threatens to retaliate if Beijing sets up a military base in the Solomon Islands

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A high-level US delegation that visited the Solomons explained to the island’s leaders that if Beijing were to move towards the establishment of a de facto permanent military presencethis would cause serious concerns in the United States, which will respond accordinglythe US presidency said in a statement.

This also applies in the event of the implementation of any military facility or of force projection abilities that would allow a Chinese deployment in the region, she said.

Washington taken aback

Envoys from the White House and the US State Department traveled to the Solomon Islands on Friday, where they met with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, among others.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in 2019

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare chats with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing in 2019.

Photo: Reuters/POOL

While the United States wanted to convince the archipelago not to sign an agreement with Beijing, they seem to have been taken aback on Tuesday by the formalization of this rapprochement.

In response to the concerns raised, Prime Minister Sogavare reiterated his assurances specifically guaranteeing that there would be no military base, no long-term presence and no force projection capabilities. The United States stressed that it would follow developments closely in consultation with its regional partners. »

A quote from The White House

The American delegation also insisted on the potential implications for regional securitycontesting during substantive discussions the purpose, scope and transparency of the agreement.

Embassy, ​​hospital ship, vaccines

But the Americans also assured respect the law of the Solomons to take their sovereign decisionsand tried to woo the islands by multiplying gestures towards them.

Among them: the acceleration of the opening of an American embassy, ​​the strengthening of cooperation on unexploded mines, the dispatch of a hospital ship for public health assistance or the delivery of additional vaccines. .

The two countries have also committed to launching a high-level strategic dialoguewhich will focus in particular on the delicate issue of security.

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