US makes Solomon Islands new battlefield of 21st Century over Chinese investment

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/17 22:02:53

Scenery of the Solomon Islands Photo:IC

The news that a Chinese company has inked an agreement to lease Tulagi, a small island in the Solomon Islands that has a deep water harbor, apparently set the teeth of some "China threat" advocates from the US on edge. 

A jaundiced view of Chinese investment in what's considered a US sphere of influence would only hold back the economy of the South Pacific archipelago, an unforgettable battlefield for the US-led Allied forces against Japanese forces during World War II.

The Solomons' Central Province made a "strategic cooperation agreement" with state-owned China Sam Group covering Tulagi island on September 22, a day after China and the Solomon Islands established diplomatic ties, according to documents AFP obtained Thursday. 

Fearing that the US' clout in the South Pacific nation might be eroded as Chinese investment makes inroads into the historic island, a New York Times article updated on Thursday issued a fresh warning about debt traps set by China for developing nations. 

The criticism is hardly constructive. Nearly eight decades after the bloody battle, what the US cares about most, it seems, is not what can be done to build the island into an economic gem. Rather, it wants the South Pacific strategic headquarters to be firmly in the hands of Uncle Sam. 

Instead of asking what Beijing could want with Tulagi, Washington ought to ask itself what it could do for Tulagi in the 21st century. 

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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