China has reportedly negotiated a secret security pact with the Solomon Islands, setting off alarm bells in the US and Australia because of the potential for Beijing gaining a South Pacific beachhead from which it could block shipping traffic.
Beijing would be given rights to dock warships and access “all necessary facilities”
Chinese and Solomon Island officials are close to signing the agreement, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing documents leaked by opponents of the deal. If completed, the pact would give Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare the ability to call on China for protection, such as in cases of civil unrest. Beijing would be given rights to dock warships and access “all necessary facilities” on the islands.