Home Regional embassy The Solomon Islands signed the United States-Pacific pact after the removal of indirect references to China – BenarNews

The Solomon Islands signed the United States-Pacific pact after the removal of indirect references to China – BenarNews

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The Solomon Islands only agreed to sign an agreement between the United States and more than a dozen Pacific nations after indirect references to China were removed, Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele said on Tuesday.

The pact between Washington and 14 Pacific island nations was one of the main outcomes of the US-Pacific summit last week aimed at countering China’s influence in the region.

The Solomon Islands signed a security pact with Beijing earlier this year, which worries Washington and its allies.

“In the initial draft there were some references that we weren’t comfortable with,” said Manele, who is on an official visit to New Zealand.

“The [were] a few references that put us in a position where we have to choose sides. And we don’t want to be put in a position where we have to choose sides.

The Solomon Islands government has leaned towards China under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. The Solomon Islands transferred diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 2019 and will host the Pacific Games next year with financial assistance from China.

Another Pacific nation, Kiribati, also recognized China in 2019, leaving Taiwan with just four regional allies.

The United States has not had an embassy in the Solomon Islands since the early 1990s, but has promised to reopen it as part of efforts to show greater commitment to the Pacific.

Manele said his government’s initial reservations about the U.S.-Pacific pact reflected its views on foreign policy in the region.

The Pacific, he said, “should be a region of peace, cooperation and collaboration.”

During the negotiations, “we were able to find common ground which got us on board, so we signed”, he added.

President Joe Biden’s summit with Pacific leaders last week was meant to show deeper American commitment to a region that has looked to China for its development needs.

In two decades, China has become an important source of infrastructure, loans and aid for Pacific island nations as it seeks to diplomatically isolate Taiwan and win regional allies in international organizations such as the United Nations. United.

The US-Pacific 11-point statement condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said the signatory nations are committed to maintaining peace and security in the Pacific and recognize the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight under international law.