US Cable: China ‘Replica’ Guns for Solomon Islands Likely Real

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    The Facts

    • According to a US cable obtained by Al Jazeera, China's shipment of "replica" weapons to the Solomon Islands last year was likely genuine firearms.

    • While the Islands claimed China sent 95 replica rifles and 92 replica pistols that weren't capable of firing any live munitions," the cable — acquired through a freedom of information request — says US officials allege the guns "appeared real" and "had unique serial numbers."

    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 developmental 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.

    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.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 20% chance that there will be a US-China war by 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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