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'Utter Nonsense': Solomon Islands PM Lashes Out at US, Allies After China Security Deal Backlash

© REUTERS / Georgina KekeaProtestors gather outside the parliament building in Honiara, Solomon Islands, November 24, 2021, in this screen grab obtained by Reuters, from a social media video
Protestors gather outside the parliament building in Honiara, Solomon Islands, November 24, 2021, in this screen grab obtained by Reuters, from a social media video - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.03.2022
The Solomon Islands has security arrangements with neighbours Australia and New Zealand. However, the Pacific Island nation has started security deal negotiations with China.
Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has rebuked Australia, New Zealand, and the US for criticising its security negotiations with China and dubbed it "insulting".

"We are sensitive to the unfortunate perception held by many leaders that the region' security is threatened by the presence of China in the region. This is utter nonsense", Sogavare said in his first statement in parliament on the proposed deal.

The PM, who decided to switch the country's ties from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019, also finds it "very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs".
Expressing concerns over the proposed security deal, the details of which are yet to be revealed by the Solomon Islands government, the US State Department said it "does not believe China's security forces and methods need to be exported".
On Monday, Australia's and New Zealand's prime ministers said the pact would militarise the pacific region.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the proposed pact is a reminder of the constant pressure and threats present in "our region".
However, Sogavare also made a veiled attack on Australia and New Zealand for not providing security to the infrastructure built by China or the Chinese people last November during three-day riots.
Australia and New Zealand act as security providers to the Solomon Islands.

"We watched Chinatown burned to ashes Mr Speaker. And attempted vandalism of the Pacific Games infrastructure…from our perspective, any building must be protected. If any country does not have the political appetite to do that, we must have an alternative arrangement in place", Sogavare underlined.

The leaked security document states that the "Solomon Islands may, according to its own needs, request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces to the Solomon Islands to assist in maintaining social order, protecting people's lives and property".
The document further emphasised that China will provide "assistance on other tasks", and neither party "shall disclose the cooperation information to a third party".
If the deal is approved, it would be the first major presence of China in the Pacific Ocean beside a significant infrastructure buildup in Kiribati — an island nation 1,850 miles southwest of Hawaii, home to the US Pacific Command and Pearl Harbor Navy base.
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