THE LEADER OF THE SOLOMON ISLANDS

Written by on March 29, 2022

The leader of the Solomon Islands on Tuesday said he was poised to sign a proposed security agreement with China that has angered local opposition leaders, alarmed neighboring countries and thrust the small Pacific island nation to the center of a broader debate over the future of the Indo-Pacific.

In a defiant address to Parliament, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare described the backlash to the deal as “very insulting” even as he denied the agreement would lead to China building a military base in the Solomon Islands, 1,000 miles from Australian shores.

Sogavare compared his nation to a “helpless mouse” surrounded by “vicious cats” that would “do anything to survive.” He said he was not jettisoning existing security agreements with Australia and New Zealand — who along with the United States have objected to the deal — but rather trying to “diversify.

His comments came days after a draft of the secret agreement was leaked, which the prime minister condemned. Sogavare said his government had “no devious intention, no secret plan.” Yet he gave little detail about the agreement on Tuesday, even as he said it was “ready for signing


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