The United States will reopen an embassy in the Solomon Islands, a senior foreign ministry official announced on Saturday (February 12) as Washington seeks to strengthen its presence in the region in the face of expanding Chinese influence.
According to a senior Foreign Office official, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to announce the opening of the new embassy in the Pacific archipelago on Saturday, just months after protests in Fiji, another state in the region. Chinese accents in Honolulu, the capital of Solomons.
The U.S. Embassy in Hon’ble was closed in 1993 to make way for a simple embassy based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
According to US officials, Beijing is making special efforts to gain influence and presence in several island nations in the region.
China announced in December that it was sending police trainers and riot control equipment to the Solomon Islands as foreign peacekeepers began to leave the archipelago after deadly clashes ended.
Riots erupted in November in this country of 800,000 people. Protesters tried to enter parliament, then engaged in sabotage for three days, burning large parts of Hon’ble Chinatown.
The struggles against Prime Minister Manasseh Sokavare were rooted in poverty, unemployment and inter-island rivalry. But the government has also been criticized for wanting to forge closer ties with Beijing after abruptly severing long-standing ties with Taiwan in 2019.
China opposes any diplomatic recognition of Taiwan as part of its own territory.
The Solomon Islands government said it had accepted China’s six concessions “Liaison Officers” To train its police force and equipment, including shields, helmets, batons, and other items “Non-hazardous”.
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