April 21, 2022
BEIJING – Agreement is based on normal exchanges, cooperation between two sovereign states
China confirmed on Tuesday the official signing of a security pact with the Solomon Islands, and warned that any attempt to disrupt Beijing’s cooperation with Pacific island countries is doomed to fail.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily news briefing that the foreign ministers of the two countries had officially signed an intergovernmental framework agreement on security cooperation, which is not targeted at any third party and conforms to the shared interests of the Solomon Islands and the South Pacific region.
The nature of the agreement is normal exchanges and cooperation between the two sovereign and independent states, Wang said.
He underlined that security cooperation aims at promoting social stability and long-term peace in the Solomon Islands, it follows the principles of equality and mutual benefit and it is based on respecting the will and actual needs of the Solomon Islands.
The two sides will cooperate in the fields of maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property, humanitarian assistance and responding to natural disasters, according to Wang.
He added that Beijing is committed to helping the Pacific island nation strengthen its capacity building to safeguard national security.
Noting that security cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands is open, transparent, and inclusive, Wang said it runs parallel to and complements the existing bilateral and multilateral security cooperation mechanisms in the Solomon Islands.
China is willing to work with relevant countries to give full play to their respective advantages and form international synergy, Wang added.
The signing of the agreement comes as the White House is sending a high-level delegation to the Solomon Islands this week to discuss its so-called China security concerns, as well as to consider the reopening of the US embassy in Honiara, which has been closed for 29 years.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Fiji in February, the first such visit by a US secretary of state to the Pacific island nation in 37 years.
Wang called the sudden visits to the Pacific island countries into question. “Are they concerned about the island countries, or do they have other motives?”
“The Pacific island countries are not someone’s ‘backyard’, still less a pawn in a geopolitical confrontation,” he said, adding that they have actual needs in terms of diversifying their external cooperation and also have the right to independently choose their cooperative partners.
There is no audience in Pacific island countries for deliberately hyping up tensions and provoking bloc confrontation, he added.
Noting that China is always a builder of peace and a promoter of stability in the South Pacific region, Wang slammed the US and other countries for smearing China, saying that it would be more appropriate to attach the label of damaging regional security to those countries.
Certain countries, including the US, have fostered the development of the so-called “AUKUS”, a trilateral security cooperation framework among Washington, London and Canberra, that brings the risk of nuclear proliferation and a Cold War mentality to the South Pacific region, and severely threatens security and stability in the region, Wang added.
The government of the Solomon Islands has paid great attention to its cooperation with China. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told its Parliament in late March that the backlash against his country’s security negotiations with China was “very insulting”.