Tonga to address China-Solomons security deal at Pacific leaders meeting, says PM Hu‘akavameiliku

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku says his government will address the concern over a new security deal between China and Solomon Islands during the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat meeting in June.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku. Photo/Screenshot

He said the government decided to discuss the issue with the Solomon government.

Hon Hu’akavameiliku’s revelation in Nuku’alofa this morning during a virtual press conference came after a draft security agreement between China and Solomon Islands was leaked late last month.

The agreement would allow China to send police and military personnel to the Solomons “to assist in maintaining social order”, reported RNZ.

“Chinese warships could also use the Islands as a stopover point, or to replenish supplies, despite no port existing in the Solomons which could accommodate Chinese ships”. 

The Solomon Islands said Friday it won’t allow China to build a military base there.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the possibility of Chinese military forces stationed on the Solomon Islands as “the potential militarisation of the region”, reported One News.

And the US State Department said Washington did not believe China’s security forces and methods needed to be exported.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said Friday that while it respected the Solomons’ sovereignty, the deal showed that China was acting aggressively in the region.

“We need to be very cautious here because the Chinese are incredibly aggressive, the tactics that they’re deploying into small island nations are quite remarkable,” he told Sky News.

China recently gifted Tonga more than 110 pieces of machinery including bulldozers, trucks and excavators.

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