WH: US to respond if China establishes permanent base on Solomon Isles
The White House said the US will respond accordingly if China establishes a permanent military presence on the Solomon Islands.
The White House said on Friday that the United States will respond if China establishes a permanent military presence on the Solomon Islands.
The statement said that if China takes steps to establish a de facto permanent military presence, "power-projection capabilities, or a military installation, the delegation noted that the United States would then have significant concerns and respond accordingly."
The White House also announced today that the US and Solomon Islands agreed to launch a high-level strategic dialogue that will be co-chaired on the US side by the White House and the US Department of State.
In a press release, the White House said that the US and Solomon Islands have both agreed to focus on security issues of mutual concern for both sides, as well as economic and social development, public health, in addition to finance and debt.
China announced on Tuesday that it signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands amid tensions in the region, especially over Taiwan, as the US tries to establish a foothold there.
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.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe told his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, during a phone call on Wednesday, that the US government should stop underestimating China's resolve and ability to protect its national interests.
"China hopes to establish a healthy and stable relationship with the United States, and [China] will protect its national interests and dignity. The US should not underestimate China's resolve and capabilities," the ministry announced.