China signs security pact with Solomon Islands
China and the Solomon Islands sign the security treaty they had just recently inked.
China announced on Tuesday that it signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands.
Australia is worried that the pact, whose details have not been made public, could be a step toward a Chinese military presence less than 2,000 km away.
The US, UK and Australia had formed their AUKUS alliance amid China concerns. The alliance was based on enhancing Australia's nuclear capabilities through advanced technology and nuclear submarines in order to increase the alliance's strength in the South Pacific as China grows more influential in its region.
Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare had termed late in March international criticism of the country's security discussions with China "insulting" and those who leaked the draft security deal "lunatics".
The deal had not yet been signed, and was inked on March 31.
Zed Seselja, Australia's minister for international development and the Pacific, visited the Solomon Islands' capital Honiara last week to try to convince authorities not to sign the framework pact. A high-level US delegation is also scheduled to visit this week to discuss concerns about China, and the reopening of the US embassy in Honiara.
"Deliberate attempts to inflate tensions and mobilize rival camps are also doomed to fail," Wang, the Chinese spokesman, said on Tuesday, when asked about the U.S. officials' scheduled visit.
Chinese foreign ministry officials are scheduled to arrive in May to sign multilateral agreements and cooperations with the Solomon Islands.