Islas Salomón

¿Puedes culpar a países pobres como el mío por recurrir a China?

Las reacciones de Estados Unidos y Australia hacen parecer que el esfuerzo de China para aumentar su influencia en el océano Pacífico es algo aterrador.

Las negociaciones secretas entre Pekín y el gobierno de mi país, las Islas Salomón, han generado especulaciones sobre una posible presencia militar china aquí. Nuestro gobierno lo ha negado. Pero Washington advirtió que estos acontecimientos “sentarían un precedente preocupante” con el potencial de desestabilizar el Pacífico, y al menos un político australiano lanzó la preocupación de que las Islas Salomón podrían convertirse en una “pequeña Cuba frente a nuestras costas”.

Como muchos de mis compatriotas, también me siento incómoda por la falta de transparencia en las negociaciones de nuestro gobierno con China, por los verdaderos motivos de Pekín y por el posible impacto que todo esto podría tener en nuestras instituciones frágiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

Can You Blame Poor Countries Like Mine for Turning to China?

Judging from the American and Australian reactions, China’s push to raise its profile in the Pacific Ocean seems frightening indeed.

Secretive negotiations between Beijing and the government of my home country, the Solomon Islands, have raised speculation that they could lead to a Chinese military presence here. Our government has denied this. But Washington has warned that these developments would “set a concerning precedent” that could destabilize the Pacific, and at least one Australian politician fretted that the Solomons might become a “little Cuba off our coast”.

Like many of my fellow islanders, I am uncomfortable, too — about the lack of transparency in our government’s dealings with China, about Beijing’s ultimate motives and the potential impact all this could have on our fragile institutions.…  Seguir leyendo »

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele (left) escorts Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (center) on his arrival at the Honiara International Airport in Honiara, Solomon Islands, on May 25. Stringer/AFP via Getty Images

Concerns over China’s Pacific expansion reached a fever pitch with the signing of an agreement between the Solomon Islands and Beijing in April. A leaked draft of the agreement specified that the Solomon Islands could request Chinese security assistance and China could, “according to its own needs and with the consent of Solomon Islands, make ship visits to, carry out logistical replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in Solomon Islands”, as well as protect Chinese assets and citizens there. Although China says it has “no intention” of building a base on the islands, the recent U.S. claim that a naval facility is under construction in Cambodia has raised further worries about Chinese plans.…  Seguir leyendo »

Officers with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force undergo training by members of the China Police Liaison Team in this undated photo released March 29 by the RSIPF. (AFP/Royal Solomon Islands Police Force) (Handout/AFP/Getty Images)

Over the past few weeks, the world has been understandably transfixed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, though, his close ally Chinese President Xi Jinping has been quietly taking advantage of the West’s distraction by expanding China’s sphere of influence in the South Pacific. If Washington doesn’t wake up to this threat, China’s efforts to dominate the region will gain dangerous and perhaps irreversible momentum.

Officials and experts throughout Asia expressed shock last month when a leaked document emerged showing a draft of a “security cooperation” agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, a small former British colony in the South Pacific that has been independent since 1978.…  Seguir leyendo »