Chinese official in Solomon Islands amid security deal

Kyodo News

Posted at May 26 2022 04:20 PM

Wang Yi EPA-EFE/file
Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi. Andrej Cukic, EPA-EFE/file

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in the Solomon Islands on Thursday, at a time when concerns are mounting over China's increasing military clout in the region following a controversial security pact signed by the two countries last month.

Hours after Wang touched down in Honiara, leaked documents reported by Australian Broadcasting Corp. revealed that China is seeking a region-wide agreement with almost a dozen Pacific island countries, covering areas including security, trade and data communication.

A draft communique and five-year action plan were sent by China to 10 Pacific island nations that have diplomatic ties with Beijing, ahead of a foreign ministers' meeting on May 30, according to ABC.

Wang is on an eight-country tour of the Pacific islands.

His visit comes after China and the Solomon Islands signed a security deal that reportedly allows the deployment of Chinese police, military and other armed personnel, as well as the docking of the Asian nation's ships in the islands.

According to the ABC, the two leaked documents laid out a plan to expand cooperation on policing and proposed a new free trade arrangement between China and the Pacific, as well as the appointment of a new Chinese government envoy to the region.