CHINESE POLICE OFFICERS HAVE BEGUN TRAINING THEIR SOLOMON ISLANDS COLLEAGUES, THE ISLAND NATION HAS ANNOUNCED.
Chinese police have started training their Solomon Islands counterparts, the island nation announced on Sunday. The first round of exercises took place at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) headquarters in Rove, a western suburb of the capital city of Honiara, between June 7 and 11.
“The security challenges are evolving and still out there threatening this nation and therefore RSIPF must be well prepared to tackle these threats. That is why these trainings are critical and must be delivered to reach all RSIPF officers in Honiara and the provinces,” Deputy Commissioner Ian Vaevaso said during the opening ceremony ahead of the exercise.
The training involved practicing “basic equipment handling skills, basic survive skills, self-defense and counterattack, posture and movement,” the Solomon Islands government said in a statement. The exercise was conducted by instructors with the China Police Liaison Team, it added.
The drills come following a security pact inked by Beijing and Honiara in late April. The agreement further soured the already strained ties between Australia and China, alarming Canberra’s Western allies as well. The West accused Beijing of seeking to create a military base in the Solomon Islands, while then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described such prospects as a “red line” for Canberra. US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink warned that Washington would have “significant concerns, and we would very naturally respond to those concerns” should such an outpost emerge.
China, however, rejected the criticism, stating that it distorted “facts and slanders China’s regular cooperation with the countries of Oceania,” while denying harboring any plans to set up a military base in the Solomon Islands. In late May, Western media leaked a draft document suggesting that Beijing was planning to offer economic and security cooperation deals to 10 additional small island nations in the Pacific. The potential deals appeared to be very similar in nature to the pact inked with the Solomon Islands.
Beijing maintains it will continue building ties with the Pacific nations despite the overseas pressure. The agreement with the Solomon Islands has become an example of “open” and “transparent” cooperation, China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Feng said on Saturday.
“The Pacific should be a stage of international cooperation, not an arena for geopolitical games,” Xie told China Media Group in an interview.
By East Asia correspondent Bill Birtles for the ABC
Analysts say China’s leader Xi Jinping has set the legal basis for an expansion of the Chinese military’s role in other countries, just weeks after Beijing signed a security pact with Solomon Islands.
With little published detail, Xi’s government declared he had signed off on a set of new trial outlines that allowed for Chinese “armed forces operations” that were not war.
Chairman Xi, as he is widely known in China in reference to his position as chairman of the Central Military Commission, signed off on 59 articles, according to state media, but they were not published.
Instead, government reports say they set a legal basis within China for the People’s Liberation Army to “safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests”, according to an article in the Communist Party’s media Global Times.
These operations can prevent spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transport routes for strategic materials like oil, and safeguard China’s overseas investments and personnel: experts https://t.co/G3v9zObN7u https://t.co/GfLiCTr5d5 pic.twitter.com/lBOgw9YrUg
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 13, 2022
“Chinese troops can prevent spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transport routes for strategic materials like oil, or safeguard China’s overseas investments, projects and personnel,” the report in the Global Times said.
It also said the guidelines would define the military’s role in activities that it already undertook, such as disaster relief, aid missions and peacekeeping.
China’s ‘adamant’ words on Taiwan ‘reaffirms suspicions’ war is coming
New Zealand’ s stance
STORY: China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands in April, alarming the United States, Australia and New Zealand as they fear a stepped-up military presence by Beijing. China has said it is not establishing a military base in the Solomon Islands and that its goal it to strengthen security cooperation with Pacific island nations.
Henare told Reuters that he met with Chinese Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe at a security summit in Singapore this week, where he reiterated the importance of the Pacific islands maintaining their independence.
“My point to them was very clear, that we support independence, we support sovereign nations and sovereign states, like the many in the Pacific,” Henare told Reuters on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s top defence meeting. The Solomon Islands and Fiji also sent delegations to the summit and were scheduled to speak at sessions over the weekend.
Henare said “open dialogue” was key to managing security relations with China.
“It’s not by coincidence that I met with China to make sure we can hear each other out and be very direct,” he said.
From the end of March
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare has confirmed his government has finalised a security treaty with China.