China, Solomon Islands Launch 'Comprehensive Strategic Partnership'

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The Facts

  • On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced the start of a "comprehensive strategic partnership," marking another step in deepening bilateral security ties.

  • As part of the strategic alliance, the PRC and the Pacific island nation also signed a police cooperation deal and nine other agreements during a meeting between Sogavare and China's Premier Li Qiang in Beijing the same day.


The Spin

Pro-China narrative

Strengthening ties with China is the right decision for the Solomon Islands, as China understands from its own experience the development needs of Pacific nations and respects the equality of all countries. In contrast, the US and some of its regional allies are driven by a cold war mentality, with Washington taking a zero-sum approach to foreign policy and seeking to expand relations with Pacific nations primarily to contain China. Beijing, however, knows that it can best protect its national interests through win-win cooperation among Global South nations — including those in Oceania.

Anti-China narrative

With his decision to move the Solomon Islands even closer to the PRC, Sogavare is leading the island nation, located in a strategically important region, into an uncertain future. Not without reason, Beijing's efforts to forge closer ties with other Pacific governments have so far largely failed. To expand its regional influence, China is aggressively trying to drag the small Pacific nations into its sphere of influence, but regional leaders are resisting and opting for the US. The Solomon Islands must be careful not to become a pawn in Beijing's great power policies.


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