Solomon Islands says China considering proposal to build police training center
China is studying a project to create a police training center in the solomon islandsForeign Minister Jeremiah Manele said on Thursday, as Beijing seeks to take its bilateral relations to “the next level”.
Manele made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who was on a 10-day trip to eight Pacific island countries.
The Solomon Islands Media Association (MASI) boycotted the press conference because they were only allowed to ask Manele one question, while Wang only answered questions from Chinese reporters. Media in the democratic country objected to a foreign country restricting their ability to report on the event.
“China will further consider a proposal for a police training center and support for police infrastructure and assets, given the country’s fragile security environment,” Manele was quoted as saying. ABC News.
The two countries formalized “a number of development cooperation frameworks” during their meeting, including a civil aviation agreement that will provide the basis for airlines from both countries to open air routes.
“The two States have initialed an agreement on civil aviation. This will enable the aviation industry to do business with China and open up the market for tourism and business,” said the Solomon Islands Government website.
Wang also visited Samoa on Friday evening and met Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa for talks on “climate change, the pandemic, peace and security”. The two peoples sign an “economic and technical cooperation agreement”.
According to a statement issued by the Samoan government, China and Samoa have signed an agreement to build a fingerprint lab in addition to the previously announced police academy in the country.
Wang’s tour encompasses seven other nations, including Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and East Timor.
The Solomon Islands signed a security deal with Beijing last month, which other nations feared would allow China to establish a military base 1,700 kilometers off the Australian coast and destabilize the Indo region. -peaceful.
But Wang dismissed the speculation, saying China had no plans to establish military bases in the Pacific island nation.
“Any defamation and attack on normal China-Solomon Islands security cooperation will be a dead end and any interference and sabotage will be doomed,” he said in a statement. statement.
A draft press release of the China-Pacific Island Countries Joint Development Vision and a five-year action plan, leaked to Reuters, were distributed to leaders of 10 Pacific countries ahead of the Chinese foreign minister’s tour of eight countries in the region .
The communiqué proposes a China-Pacific Islands Free trade Area, including support for climate change. The action plan, meanwhile, foresees a ministerial dialogue on law enforcement and police cooperation in 2022.
Ned Price, spokesman for the US State Department said Wednesday that Washington was aware of China’s plan to strike “a series of agreements” with Pacific Island nations and is concerned that the agreements were brokered in a “rushed process and not transparent”.
Price claimed that the security agreements were reached with “little regional consultation, causing public concern not only in the United States but throughout the Indo-Pacific region.”
“We do not believe that importing security forces [China] and their methods will help any Pacific Island country; on the other hand, it could only stoke regional and international tensions and heighten concerns about Beijing’s expansion of its internal security apparatus in the Pacific,” he said.
Daniel Y. Teng contributed to this report.