Nikkei Asia reported on April 22 that Joanne Ou, a spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, expressed concern about China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands.
She said Taiwan calls on the Solomon Island government not to become China’s military bargaining chip and to assist Beijing in expanding its military base in the Pacific.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Solomon counterpart, Jeremiah Manele, signed the agreement, which the two countries revealed this week. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, on Wednesday, April 19, informed parliament that the treaty would not threaten or undermine peace and harmony in the region.
Ou said Taiwan has the same position as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand and “expresses serious concern” about the secret signing of a security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands.
He added that the agreement “undermines the status quo and the supply lines of democratic allies, jeopardizing regional peace and stability.”
The agreement was signed just days before a White House group of delegators, led by top Asia official Kurt Campbell, arrived in Honiara amid fears about a Chinese military potential presence in the region.
Outside of the currently known South China Sea areas, Chinese militarization is a significant concern for Taiwan and the United States. While the security agreement does not mean militarization, it does open the possibility of it.
Under a draft deal released last month, China can send police, paramilitary troops, and soldiers to the country. In addition, its naval ships can dock in the islands’ ports to replenish supplies.
According to the Guardian’s article last month, Solomon Islands opposition leader Matthew Wale stated that the China deal hurts regional security balance and requires cooperation with a completely different system.
Wale remarked, “The Solomons, along with its traditional partners, are like-minded democracies with shared values.”
He said that China has an entirely different system of government and that the Solomon Islands is not familiar with that system.
Regarding national security, the distinctions between 2 nations would affect how and what training is conducted, how arrests are made, how courts function, how individual rights can be expressed, and how the rule of law is perceived.