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ROC Central News Agency

Taiwan expresses concern over China-Solomon Islands security pact

ROC Central News Agency

04/20/2022 06:56 PM

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan joined the United States on Wednesday in expressing "deep concerns" over a security pact sealed a day earlier between China and a former Taiwan diplomatic ally, the Solomon Islands, a move that many fear could open the door to a Chinese naval base in the South Pacific.

"We share the same stance with our democratic allies in expressing concerns over the lack of transparency in a deal that could destabilize regional peace and security," Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.

The deal could also threaten a "supply chain between diplomatic countries," she said, referring to concerns from some experts that Beijing's ongoing move in establishing bases across the Pacific could threaten U.S. supply lines in the event of war.

She called on the Solomon Islands not to become a "bargaining chip" of the Chinese military deployment and assist Beijing in expanding its military presence in the Pacific region.

"Taiwan will continue to work together with like-minded nations to maintain peace, stability, and a rule-based international order in surrounding regions," she added.

The Solomon Islands had been a diplomatic ally of the Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, for nearly 40 years since 1983 before the two countries cut diplomatic relations in September 2019 after Honiara announced it would ditch Taipei in favor of Beijing.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文彬) announced the agreement in Beijing on Tuesday evening, saying it would involve China cooperating with Honiara on maintaining social order, protecting people, providing aid, combating natural disasters, and helping safeguard national security.

However, the U.S. has warned the pact could lead to a Chinese military presence in the Solomon Islands, and elevated Australia and New Zealand's suspicions about growing Chinese influence in a region traditionally under their sway.

On Monday, the U.S. State Department warned that the pact "leaves open the door for the deployment of PRC military forces to the Solomon Islands" and sets a "concerning precedent for the wider Pacific island region."

(By Joseph Yeh)


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