China Holding Security Talks With Kiribati, One More Pacific Island Country, Reports Say
05:00 GMT 21.05.2022 (Updated: 06:37 GMT 21.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Richard Vogel, FileTarawa atoll, Kiribati, is seen in an aerial view
© AP Photo / Richard Vogel, File
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - China is holding negotiations on potential security deals with Kiribati and possibly Vanuatu, The Financial Times reports, citing officials.
"They are in talks with Kiribati and at least one more Pacific island country over an agreement that would cover much of the same ground as that with Solomon Islands," an intelligence official from a US ally said.
In April, China and the Solomon Islands signed a framework agreement on security cooperation to enhance social stability and long-term tranquility in the Solomon Islands.
The Financial Times said, citing a leaked draft deal from March, that the agreement could allow China to send police and military forces to the Solomon Islands.
A Western official told the newspaper that there are concerns that the potential deal with Kiribati would be similar to the agreement with the Solomon Islands. Meanwhile, Kiribati’s foreign affairs secretary denied that his government was in "discussions on a security agreement with any partner".
On Friday, China agreed with Vanuatu to upgrade an international airport (former US military base) in Luganville, according to The Financial Times. A US State Department official told the newspaper that there were fears that Beijing was holding security negotiations with Tonga and Vanuatu.