Wed, 18 May 2022

Canberra [Australia], May 11 (ANI): As the Solomon Islands and China signed a frame agreement for security cooperation between the two nations, a senior defence analyst at RAND cooperation, Derek J Grossman took a dig at China's excitement as Australia PM Morrison's strategy to win votes fell flat.

Taking to Twitter, the analyst said "The deal is done, and now the signing ceremony is up next.""China must be thrilled that Australia, the US, and to a lesser extent New Zealand have looked flatfooted and bullying toward the Solomon Islands throughout this entire ordeal," he further added.

Soloman Islands and China signed the deal last month to pave the way for its overseas security deals further.

However, Australia, the US and other allies fear could be used to establish a military base in the Pacific island nation, responding to which the Solomon Islands denied any such agreement.

Earlier, in a dialogue with her Solomon Islands counterpart, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne raised deep concerns over the security arrangement between China and the island nation.

The minister stated, "Australia has been consistent and clear in stating our respect for Solomon Islands' sovereign decision-making, however, we have reiterated our deep concerns about the security agreement with China, including the lack of transparency."Since World War II, Australia, France, New Zealand and the USA have been comfortable as undisputed "masters" of the South Pacific. For decades, no outside power has been able to make its way in, but that is changing with Chinese economic and diplomatic largesse. (ANI)

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