The reopening takes place amid Washington’s concerns over the rapprochement between Honiara and Beijing.
The United States reopened its Embassy in the Solomon Islands on Thursday, three decades after its closure. The reopening takes place amid Washington’s concerns over the rapprochement between Honiara and Beijing.
For now, the legation will be made up of a charge d’affairesa couple of State Department employees and several local workers, according to AP reports, which described the reopening as part of an effort to “counter the advance of China In the pacific”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a prerecorded statement that through its new Embassy, Washington will be “better positioned” to contribute to democracy and “address the shared challenges“.
Located about 1,800 kilometers northeast of Australia, the Solomon Islands last hosted a US diplomatic mission in 1993when the State Department undertook cutbacks due to the end of the Cold War.
However, Honiara severed its diplomatic ties with Taiwan. in favor of Beijing in 2019 and signed a security agreement with China last year, prompting further alarm in the US and Australia. The State Department informed Congress that the reopening of the embassy was a priority given the growing influence of China and the fear of increasing its military presence in the archipelago.
The US had communicated to the Solomon Islands that Washington would have “significant concerns and would respond accordingly” in the face of any “permanent military presence, ability to power projection or military installation” by China. The Australian Government, in turn, declared that any type of Chinese naval base in the archipelago would be a “Red line” for Canberra.