China, Solomon Islands Launch 'Comprehensive Strategic Partnership'

    China, Solomon Islands Launch 'Comprehensive Strategic Partnership'
    Last updated Jul 11, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • 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.
    • His Sunday arrival was Sogavare's first China trip since the signing of a bilateral security treaty in 2022, which raised concerns in the US and neighboring countries such as Australia after the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the PRC four years ago.
    • As part of Sogavare's week-long China trip, the Solomon Islands also became the latest Pacific island nation to open an embassy in China, while the US reopened its diplomatic mission in the Solomon Islands earlier this year to bolster its presence in the region.
    • In a speech late last week marking the country's 45th independence anniversary from Britain, Sogavare stressed that his government's focus is on development. He also said that Honiara, which hosts the Pacific Games in November, will "remain neutral" given the mounting US-China rivalry.
    • In late June, Sogavare called for a review of the 2017 bilateral security agreement with Australia, which allows for the rapid deployment of Australian police and defense forces to the Solomon Islands if needed and agreed to by both countries.


    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.

    Nerd narrative

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

    Establishment split



    Sign up to our newsletter!