The Solomon Islands have approved a draft bilateral security agreement with China, according to local media reports.
According to a copy of the leaked agreement, China will be allowed to send naval forces to the island nation, which is located near the mainland of Australia.
Following the announcement of the agreement, there was an immediate reaction from countries in the region, with Australia and New Zealand expressing concern about the presence of the Chinese naval forces so close to them.
Manasseh Sogavare the Prime Minister of the island nation told parliament that his country “had no intention of asking China to set up a military base” and that he “does not accept intimidation in any way” by its new partners, including China.
According to the representative of the State Department USA, the deal will exacerbate tensions in the region and may not be in the Solomon Islands’ regional interest, which is why a US negotiating team is expected to arrive in the islands soon.
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