Solomon govt refutes misinformation on deal with China, condemning those who attempt to undermine its stability
Published: Apr 15, 2022 01:44 PM
China and Solomon Islands Photo: VCG

China and Solomon Islands Photo: VCG

The Solomon Islands government refuted disinformation on a "leaked security deal" with China, saying that misinformation from anonymous sources continue to distort facts and tarnish the good relations between it and China, making it the latest decalcification from the island state as it faces increasing pressure from Australia and the US.  

"The request by the Chinese Embassy in Honiara to the Solomon Islands government to allow diplomatic Chinese security personnel to protect the embassy during the November 2021 riots was considered and held in abeyance by the Government," according to a release from the Solomon Islands Government Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Government Communication Unit on Wednesday.

The government made this clarification in relation to the so-called leaked documents circulating on social media that relayed correspondences between officials of the Chinese Embassy in Honiara and the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MAFET) and the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services (MPNSCS).

Recently, some Australian media hyped stories about these "leaked documents," which showed that the Chinese Embassy "requested the importation of a number of weapons to help protect its facilities and requested to fly in a 10-man security detail" in the Solomon Islands. 

On Tuesday, the government of the Solomon Islands warned against fake news and misinterpreted commentaries on social media.

The government clarified that it is a receiving State's obligation under Article 22 of the Vienna Convention to protect all sending State's resident diplomats, according to the Solomon Islands government's release on Wednesday.

It noted that the government confirmed that China's embassy security personnel have not entered the country, no arms have been shipped apart from a separate consignment of training replica arms stored by RSIPF and China's Police Liaison officers conducting training with Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. Following the hype of the so-called "leaked documents,'' the Solomon Islands has recently been overwhelmed by the sudden "enthusiasm" of the US and Australia. The Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja, made a "rare" visit to the Solomon Islands on Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the commander of the US Marine Corps and US senators visiting Australia also took turns to warn the Solomon Islands against cooperation with China. Kurt Campbell, the US National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, will also travel to the Solomon Islands, according to media reports.

The target of this flurry of visits, which put unprecedented pressure on the Solomon Islands, is clear-cut -- to thwart the security cooperation deal between China and the island nation and drive a wedge between the two countries. But the normal and mutually beneficial cooperation between two independent and sovereign countries won't be easily affected by coercion from Australia and the US, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times.

The combined coercion of the former colonial masters, led by the US, may put mounting pressure on the Pacific Island nation, analysts said.

"It is regrettable that misinformation from anonymous sources continue to distort facts and tarnish the good relations between Solomon Islands and the People's Republic of China," said a statement from the Solomon government. 

It also noted that the Solomon Islands government will continue to work hard in protecting all people from violence and fear and condemn those that serve narrow interests and attempt to undermine the country's stability.

Analysts criticized that the hype over the so-called leaked memo exposed Canberra's panic. Neither Australia nor the US cares about the interests or sovereignty of the Solomon Islands and their blatant interference of the security deal shows they see the country as within their "spheres of influence."