Image: NBC News
A federal government frontbencher says a new security agreement being negotiated by China and Solomon Islands is “deeply concerning” as fears grow in Australia that Beijing could establish a military presence in the Pacific Island country.
A draft official document – which emerged on social media– lays down a framework which could permit Beijing to deploy forces to “protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands”. The agreement says Solomon Islands may “request China to send police, armed police, military personnel and other law enforcement and armed forces” to the country.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the government was worried the document could undermine the sovereignty of Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands has confirmed it is drafting a security deal with China – a move that’s triggered alarm in neighbouring Australia and other Western allies in the Indo-Pacific.
Some description text for this item