Pacific leader urges Solomons to rethink China pact | Inquirer News

Pacific leader urges Solomons to rethink China pact

/ 03:39 PM March 31, 2022
President David Panuelo

Micronesia’s President David Panuelo talks with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on December 13, 2019. (Photo by Noel CELIS and NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP)

SYDNEY — The president of the Federated States of Micronesia has sent an impassioned plea to the Solomon Islands’ prime minister, urging him to reconsider a controversial and “unprecedented” security pact with China.

President David Panuelo voiced “grave security concerns about this proposed agreement” in a March 30 letter released by his government Thursday, citing rising tensions between China and the United States.


“My fear is that we — the Pacific Islands — would be at the epicentre of a future confrontation between these major powers,” Panuelo wrote.

A leaked draft of the wide-ranging security agreement sparked rebuke from the United States, Australia and New Zealand last week because it would allow Chinese security and naval deployments to the Solomon Islands.


The Solomon Islands’ prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, dismissed critics of the deal in a fiery speech Tuesday, saying it was “very insulting… to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs” by other nations.

In his letter to Sogavare, Panuelo asked the Solomons leader to consider the long-term consequences “for the entire Pacific region, if not the entire world” of signing the security pact.

He voiced concern about the Pacific becoming “collateral damage” in a potential conflict between the United States and China, saying the region could be transformed into “the playground for children playing as adults”.

Panuelo lamented the regional schism as nations lined up behind China and the United Stats: “Wouldn’t it be terrific if they could see that the troubles of our times, such as climate change, require all of them working in concert instead of against each other?”

But he urged Sogavare to be pragmatic, given the rising tensions between the major powers and their allies.

Australia’s Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said Thursday that the China-Solomon Islands pact — which is yet to be signed — would “change the calculus” of his country’s operations in the Pacific.



New Zealand’s Ardern says Solomon Islands-China deal ‘gravely concerning’

Blinken with Pacific trip aims to reaffirm US focus on Asia

Australia’s vaccine diplomacy in Pacific islands wards off Beijing—PM Morrison

US to reopen Solomon Islands embassy after 29 years

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Australia, China, David Panuelo, Police, Security, Solomon Islands
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.