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'Red Line': Aussie Commentator Calls For Solomon Islands to Be Invaded Over Security Deal With China

© AFP 2023 / PARKER SONGChinese President Xi Jinping talks to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (not pictured) during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on October 9, 2019. (Photo by Parker Song / POOL / AFP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (not pictured) during their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on October 9, 2019. (Photo by Parker Song / POOL / AFP) - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
Both China and the Solomon Islands have defended a security cooperation agreement which the two sides have been working on. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has urged everyone to look at the pact “objectively and calmly and not over-interpret it”, while rebuking "some Australian politicians" for creating "an atmosphere of tension".
An Australian commentator has called upon Canberra to “invade” the Solomon Islands before the Pacific nation seals its security agreement with China, a draft of which was leaked online on Thursday.

“There is no way that Australia can allow this deal to proceed,” David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness, wrote in a column published on Friday.

The bilateral “security cooperation” pact in question envisages Chinese vessels carrying out “logistical replenishments”, “stopovers” and “transition” in the Pacific nation, according to a leaked draft of the security agreement.
It also states that “relevant forces of China can be used to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects” on the Solomon Islands.
FILE PHOTO: Children fish at a beach in central Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, on September 14, 2012..  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.03.2022
China 'to Set Up Its First Base' in Pacific Under Proposed Security Pact With Solomon Islands
Llewellyn-Smith warned that sabotaging the proposed security pact is “vital” as “stationing” a Chinese carrier so close to Australia could be the “end of our sovereignty and democracy”.

“China would have an enormous stationary aircraft carrier parked within direct striking distance of every eastern Australian city,” the commentator added.

Llewellyn-Smith claimed that in case of a potential disagreement between Canberra and Beijing, the Chinese government could “open the hatches on its Solomon-based cruise missiles and ask us to reconsider”.
The columnist likened the security deal to the “Cuban missile crisis”, arguing that Beijing must be driven out of the south Pacific by all means necessary.
He also urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to enlist the help of Washington in getting the security deal overturned.
The Cuban missile was a month-long episode in 1962, during the Cold War between the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the US. Washington and Moscow got tantalisingly close to a nuclear war after the latter matched the stationing of American missiles in Italy and Turkey with its nuclear-capable ballistic missile deployments in Cuba.
“It is our red line that China and the Pacific Islands must never be allowed to cross,” stated Llewellyn-Smith.
The leaked draft has evoked fearful reactions from Australia and New Zealand, both part of several US-led security groupings such as Five Eyes (FVEV) and ANZUS (a non-binding trilateral security pact).
Australia is also part of US-led groupings such as the Quad and AUKUS, which Beijing says are directed to contain its rising influence in the Asia-Pacific region.
On Thursday, Australia’s High Commissioner in the Solomon Islands, Lachlan Strahan, announced $20 million in support for the Pacific nation.
The Australian representative also met Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare before announcing the financial aid.
Meanwhile, Australia’s defence minister said: “We don't want unsettling influences and we don't want pressure and coercion that we are seeing from China.”
New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta ssid that “such agreements will always be the right of any sovereign country to enter into”.
"However, developments within this purported agreement could destabilise the current institutions and arrangements that have long underpinned the Pacific region’s security,” she added.
The draft of the security pact surfaced against the backdrop of growing security ties between the Solomon Islands and China.
The Pacific nation switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China in 2019, after a meeting between Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
China is also the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner, and grants duty-free access to 97 percent of exports from the islands.
Last December, Prime Minister Sogavare invited Chinese riot police to quell violent demonstrations in the capital Honiara. The protestors were aggrieved at the the government’s decision to abandon diplomatic support for Taiwan in favour of Beijing.
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