Beijing scheming to be Solomon’s ‘owner & minder’

by DANIEL Y TENG – US SENATORS have warned Beijing will become the “owner and minder” of the Solomon Islands if a controversial bi-lateral security pact is implemented. 

Chairman of the US Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), on a visit to Australia with five Republican senators and congressman, said the South Pacific was the “epicentre of the global challenge” involving the Chinese Communist Party. 

While Solomon Island leaders deny any possible military build-up, leaked documents show that Beijing has been scouting the region for military projects for years.

In an interview on Sky News Australia, Mr Menendez along with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said it was in the interest of the Solomon Islands, Australia and the United States to “ensure there is not a Chinese base there”.

In late March, details of a secret agreement between the Solomon Islands and Beijing were leaked online that would allow the CCP to dispatch forces to “protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in the Solomon Islands”.


Once the agreement was made public, foreign representatives from both governments “initialled” the agreement soon after, sparking concerns it could pave the way for the CCP to militarise the region.

While Chinese and Solomon Island leaders have denied any possible military build-up, leaked documents on April 7 appear to show that Beijing has been scouting the region for military projects for years.

Mr Menendez said that while they would “take the word” of Solomons’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has vehemently denied any intention of military development, the Democratic senator emphasised that investment from China came with strings attached.

“It is my hope that there’s a broader, deeper understanding that China at the end of the day will be your owner and minder,” he said.

“That’s what their ultimate goal is, and they’ve shown in Africa and other parts of the world that where it seems like they’re coming with good intention – and then their coercive economic policies and practices ultimately [means you are] owned by China.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be owned by China,” he said, in reference to the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Belt and Road Initiative is the CCP’s global infrastructure strategy where it bankrolls major projects for developing countries at sometimes exorbitant rates.

When CCP-targeted governments default on loan repayments, Beijing assumes control of the asset, which could possibly be repurposed for military use.

Defence Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Michael Shoebridge has pointed to similarities between the Solomons’ issue and Djibouti in Africa, where the CCP established its first overseas military base in 2017, despite denying it had the intention to do so.

“We can see the future for the South Pacific in the Chinese military’s record in the South and East China Seas and Taiwan Strait,” he wrote in The Strategist.


Associate fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based Chatham House Cleo Paskal said the security pact could give the embattled Sogavare a chance to shore up control over the country.

“[Sogavare could say,] ‘We need outside help to come and create stability in the country, and our friends China will come and do it’,” Ms Paskal told The Epoch Times.

“And that’s when they arrest the leaders, the Malaitan leaders, and God forbid what happens to them in detention.”

She called on the Australian Government to reinvigorate the democratic process in the country and pressure Mr Sogavare to abide by the 2000 Townsville Peace Agreement – which ended violence in the country and laid the groundwork for democratic government.

“Put out the steps that the various provinces, including Malaita [Province], agreed to,” she said.

“There’s a whole series of things that have already been negotiated – everybody signed on, including the government under Sogavare.

“Sogavare and his members of Parliament are given a choice, ‘You can deal with China, or you can deal with the rest of the world’,” MsPaskal said, noting that Mr Sogavare and his Cabinet could lose privileges afforded to them in their relationship with Australia.

She said the pressure could compel Mr Sogavare’s ministers to intervene and stop things from “going too far”.


Top officials and ministers from Australia have made several representations to Mr Sogavare in the past few weeks, including Pacific Minister Zed Seselja who called on the government not to sign the security deal.

Meanwhile, the US delegation to Australia also includes Republican Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Ben Sasse (R-Neb), Robert Portman (R-Ohio) and Congressman Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).PC

Daniel Y Teng

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  US Senator Lindsey Graham. (courtesy Vanity Fair)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on April 14, 2022. Re-used with permission.

2 thoughts on “Beijing scheming to be Solomon’s ‘owner & minder’

  1. The Chinese at times have very narrow vision when it comes to security decisions – eg when they were disinclined to intervene against the Korean missile trials till it was pointed out to them that the missiles often faltered and one sent across Asia to the Pacific could misfire halfway and land on the Forbidden City killing any official within range. Didn’t they reconsider in a hurry then!!
    Please consider then that the Solomons sit on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and a good earthquake could set off a huge tsunami as in 2005, and wipe out the Solomons, and any militia and their base on them. Is it really a wise choice for such a base?

  2. Yes, bind the Solomon Islands into an impossible situation so China can continue her expansion and control of the entire Indo-Pacific Region!

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