US warns Solomon Islands security pact could set precedent for region

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US warns Solomon Islands security pact could set precedent for region

The United States warned that a proposed security pact between the Solomon Islands and China could destabilise the Pacific Island nation and set a dangerous precedent for the region.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said as the White House confirmed that top US official Kurt Campbell would visit Solomon Islands later this week.

Mr Campbell, the Indo-Pacific coordinator of the National Security Council, will lead a delegation along with senior State Department official Daniel Kritenbrink.

The Financial Times revealed the planned trip earlier this month. The details were just released and were released publicly.

We believe that signing such an agreement could increase destabilisation within the Solomon Islands and set a precedent for the wider Pacific island region. The US announced earlier this year that it will re-establish its embassy in Honiara in an effort to counter China's influence in the region.

American officials visiting Solomon Islands this week will visit Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Part of our engagement is to make sure that our partners in the Indo-Pacific and around the world understand what the United States brings to the table, and understand what the partnership can bring, Mr Price said.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare insists he has no plans to allow China to build a military base in the country, less than 2,000 kilometres from the Queensland coast.

According to a draft of the document, Beijing could be allowed to station navy ships and defence personnel there to protect billions of dollars in Chinese infrastructure investment.

Australia has respectfully urged Mr Sogavare not to proceed with the pact, arguing that it could support the security needs of Solomon Islands with full respect for its sovereignty. Admiral Samuel Paparo, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet, has previously criticised what he described as a secret arrangement.