A senior US official in the Pacific refused to rule out military action against him Solomon Islands If it were to allow China to establish a military base there, saying the security deal between the countries presents “potential regional security ramifications” for the United States and other allies.
Ambassador Daniel Krettenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, was part of a high-level US delegation to the Pacific nation last week.
He said the US team, which also includes National Security Council Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell, had a “constructive and candid” 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavari, in which the US team detailed concerns about the recently signed agreement. security deal with China.
“We wanted to make it clear to our friends in the Solomon Islands what our concerns were,” Krettenbrink said. Prime Minister Sugavari noted that from the perspective of the Solomon Islands, the agreement they reached has only local implications. But we have made clear that there are potential regional security implications of the agreement not only for ourselves, but for allies and partners across the region.”
On Tuesday, Krittenbrink confirmed the United States’ readiness to move in the region if China established a military base.
“Of course, we respect the sovereignty of the Solomon Islands, but we also wanted to tell them that if steps were taken to create a de facto permanent military presence, power projection capabilities, or a military facility, we would have significant concerns, and we would naturally respond to those concerns.”
When asked what that response might include, he said, “Look, I wouldn’t expect and I’m not in a position to talk about what the United States might or might not do in such a situation.”
Pressed on whether to rule out the possibility of US military action against the Solomon Islands, a naval base was to be established, and if not, was he comfortable with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s talk of the base as a “red line” for Australia, He said, “I don’t have much to add other than what I have already mentioned. “
In a statement last week, the Biden administration said the United States would “respond accordingly” if China was allowed to establish a long-term presence on the islands, noting Sugavari’s assurances that it did not intend to allow a military base.
The rhetoric escalated in the wake of the statement with Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said Australia has “the same red line” Like the United States when it comes to China’s intervention in the Solomon Islands, the Secretary of Defense Peter Dutton uses his Anzac Day speech on Monday To declare: “Australia should prepare for war,” claiming that China is “on a very thoughtful path at the moment.”
Krettenbrink also referred to China’s military ambitions, saying, “I think it’s important in this context, to keep in mind that we know that the People’s Republic of China [People’s Republic of China] Seeks to establish more powerful overseas logistics and basic infrastructure that allows the People’s Liberation Army [People’s Liberation Army] To project and maintain military power at greater distances. So we wanted to have that candid conversation with our friends in the Solomon Islands. We have made our concerns clear…and have indicated that we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will continue to communicate with them moving forward.”
The text of the security agreement signed by China and Solomon Islands is confidential, although MPs of the Solomon Islands have called on the prime minister to release it publicly.
I think it’s clear that a handful of people in a very small circle have seen this convention. The Prime Minister himself has been publicly quoted as saying that he will only share the details with the permission of China, which I think is also a concern,” Krettenbrink said.
However, the draft agreement was leaked on social media last month and contained provisions allowing China to “make visits to ships, carry out logistical replenishment, and stop and go in the Solomon Islands.”
“The United States of America is not in the business of asking countries to choose between the United States, China or anyone else,” Krettenbrink said. But it is interested in promoting “a proactive vision once again of the shared interests and principles that we believe are vital to all of our friends throughout the region.”
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