In the face of China-US competition, the US is placing greater strategic importance on South Pacific nations, and the region not only plays a key role in the US’ Indo-Pacific Strategy but also serves as a key anti-China frontline once the US loses its “first island chain,” according to Chinese analysts.
Kurt Campbell, the White House’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, and the State Department’s top Asia official wrapped up their visit to the islands on Friday, just days after China and the Solomon Islands announced the signing of a bilateral security agreement, and the US delegation made it clear to the Solomon Islands during their visit that the US would have “significant concerns and would respond accordingly” if China took steps to establish “a de facto permanent military presence.”
Despite the Solomon Islands’ assertion that the deal is just for domestic use, the US delegation stated that it might have regional security ramifications for the US and its allies.
According to Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the East China Normal University’s Australian Studies Center, the US has made a provocative move as a third party that threatens normal cooperation between two sovereign states, which is a clear violation of international rules.
According to Yang Honglian, senior researcher of the Pacific Islands Research Center at Liaocheng University in Fiji, the US arrogantly believes that all forces attempting to join the South Pacific region, except the US and its allies, pose a security threat.
At the handover ceremony, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that relations between China and the Solomon Islands have deepened since diplomatic ties were established in 2019, and that facts show that the Solomon Islands made the right decision in establishing diplomatic ties with China.