Japan sends official to Solomon Islands amid China tensions

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Japan sends official to Solomon Islands amid China tensions

On Monday, Japan sent a senior official to the Solomon Islands due to concerns that a recently concluded security pact between the southwest Pacific nation and China will increase Beijing's military influence in the region.

The Foreign Ministry said that Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Kentaro Uesugi is scheduled to discuss the enhancement of bilateral ties and collaboration in the international arena with senior officials of the Solomon Islands during his trip through Wednesday.

The visit comes after China said last week it had signed a deal with the Pacific island nation, allowing Beijing to deploy forces and dock vessels in the islands. Uesugi is expected to convey Japan's apprehension over China's recent attempts to expand military activities in the region in the talks with Solomon Islands officials, according to government sources.

The Solomon Islands switched their diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing in 2019

The United States warned the Solomon Islands against any possible moves to invite a Chinese military presence after the signing of the security pact. Washington sent senior U.S. officials to the islands.

Japan had arranged a visit to the Solomon Islands by Shingo Miyake, another parliamentary vice foreign minister, but he was replaced by Uesugi due to a scheduling conflict.