Honiara [Solomon Islands]May 6 (ANI): Despite China’s repeated denials about plans to militarize the Solomon Islands, security experts remain wary of Beijing’s intentions.
The Solomon Islands and China last month signed a framework agreement on security cooperation that the United States and its allies fear could be used to establish a military base in the Pacific island nation.
Writing for Geopolitica.info, di Valerio Fabbri said the details of the security pact alarmed countries around the world, particularly New Zealand, Australia and the US, which went on high alert.
They believe that China has much bigger ambitions in the region.
Although the Solomon Islands and China denied establishing a military base, the businessman behind this deal had once tried to buy an entire island for China.
“About three years ago, Xu Changyu, on behalf of the Chinese state-owned Sam Enterprise, which produces weapons, tried to negotiate a deal to lease Tulagi Island for 75 years, securing exclusive development rights,” Fabbri said.
According to the writer, the deal shocked residents and set off alarm bells, claiming that it is hard to believe that the Chinese would lease the entire island without turning it into a military base.
Fabbri highlighted how China has been criticized for setting up economic colonies with easy loans and huge investments in infrastructure and trade on the condition of severing ties with Taiwan.
Experts say this dual-use investment is often used for both civil and military infrastructure.
It has also been alleged that China is influencing local elections by buying off politicians with bribes, thus giving way to what is called debt trap diplomacy.
In addition, Fabbri pointed out that China’s role is relevant not only in the infrastructure and construction sector in these islands, but also in key service sectors such as telecommunications projects and seaports.
“Under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is building and has completed a number of infrastructure projects, including seaports, highways, and railways in Mongolia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, with the additional goal of providing telecommunication services and transportation logistics as well — like setting up factories along the route,” he said.
Furthermore, Beijing is also investing heavily in private industries and diverting operations to develop military technology. “The Solomon Islands situation is just the latest case of the aforementioned policy,” Fabbri stressed. (AND ME)