Australia, Solomon Islands to Review Security Pact

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • Concluding his two-day visit to the Solomon Islands, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles on Thursday offered to extend the presence of Australian troops and police in the country amid growing cooperation between China and the Pacific nation.

    • Following a meeting with Marles, Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare on Wednesday called for an overhaul of the Solomon Islands-Australia security pact to meet the changing security challenges of both countries, the prime minister's office said.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    In the context of the US-China regional geopolitical rivalry, the fact that Australia, a close ally of Washington, and the Solomon Islands will renew their security pact is another stage victory for the US. Although Beijing signed its first-ever security agreement with the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific last year, recent regional developments suggest that Washington, through its regional allies, is outperforming Beijing on security. If the US now also adopts a competitive economic strategy, it might win the strategic race against China.

    Narrative B

    With all the geopolitical considerations, what's best for the people is often not addressed. Given the internal security problems that the Solomons have faced since independence in 1978, the government had to look abroad for support, which also led to the signing of security agreements with Australia and China. Moving forward, however, Honiara needs to leverage existing security treaties to build its own capacity in order to reduce dependence on external forces and avoid becoming a pawn in the competition between the West and China.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 23% chance that the Solomon Islands will host a Chinese military base before 2032, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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