Manasseh Sogavare will attend the inauguration of the Solomon Embassy in Beijing, meet with Chinese companies and visit the provinces of Jiangsu and Guangdong.
The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavarehas arrived in China this Sunday on his first visit after reaching a security agreement last year with Beijing, local media report.
The trip, which will last until July 15, responds to the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Asian giant, Li Qiang. “During the visit, the leaders of both countries continue to strengthen existing bilateral ties and will share their points of view, in addition to continuing to cement understanding on matters of common interest,” reads a statement from the Solomon government.
Sogavare and his delegation will meet with various Chinese companies and visit Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces. Also, he will attend the inauguration of the embassy of the Solomon Islands in Beijing.
Increased Chinese presence in the Indo-Pacific
After coming to power in 2019, Sogavare switched the nation’s diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing.
Later, in April 2022, both countries signed a security treaty. under the draft Leaked out of the pact, China gained the right to conduct “ship visits, carry out logistical replenishment, and call and transition in the Solomon Islands” with the consent of the Pacific nation. Also, you can now deploy in the archipelago “relevant forces […] to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and large projects.”
Meanwhile, countries like Australia, New Zealand and the US have stated on more than one occasion their fear of the possible increase in the presence of China in the region.
Amid growing tension in relations with the Asian giant, the White House said in a statement last year that the Beijing-Honiara deal poses “serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific” and vowed to intensify cooperation with China. its partners in the region to “face the challenges of the 21st century”.
For her part, the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, said that the agreement between China and the Solomon Islands could provoke a “potential militarization of the region”. Meanwhile, his Australian counterpart at the time, Scott Morrison, stated that “many leaders” of the “Pacific family” have the perception that “the security of the region is threatened by the presence of China”.
“We are the leader of the Indo-Pacific”
Recently, the US ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, stated that Beijing must accept that the US is “the leader” of the Indo-Pacific region and that it will defend that position.
Meanwhile, from China they have repeatedly pointed out that the US is trying to increase its influence in the Pacific countries and that in order to maintain its hegemony not only in the region but also in the world, Washington “instigates division and confrontation” among international actors.
- The Indo-Pacific has gained a lot of strength in geopolitical and geoeconomic discourse in recent years and encompasses a vast multi-continental region with Australia to the south, Asia to the north, Africa to the west, and the central Pacific Ocean to the east. The region is home to more than half of the world’s population and almost two thirds of the global economy.