Chinese police are stationed in the Solomon Islands after a request from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare – as Albo tries to repair bridges with Beijing
Chinese police are arriving in the Solomon Islands this month to help ensure security for the Pacific Games, as Anthony Albanese tries to repair relations with the superpower.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has revealed that China has donated equipment and provided staff to ensure the safety of the games.
While it is unclear how many officers will be deployed to the Solomon Islands, it shows that relations between the two are going from strength to strength.
Australia has long-standing interests in the Solomon Islands and has worked closely with the government to assist, providing more than $2.5 billion in development assistance since 2008.
“As part of the preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games, the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China has increased the personnel deployment of the Chinese Police Liaison Team and provided comprehensive security training for the RSIPF police officers,” Mr Sogavare’s office said in a statement. .
Chinese police will flood the Solomon Islands this month to help ensure the security of the Pacific Games
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed last week that China had donated equipment and offered a small contingent of the police liaison team to help manage the games
Shadow Foreign Secretary Simon Birmingham argued that Australia must do more to meet demand from the Solomon Islands rather than China.
“The Solomon Islands have consistently said that Australia remains their security partner of choice. “It begs the question: if that’s the case, why doesn’t Australia provide extra security if it’s needed for the Pacific Games?” he asked last week.
Mr Birmingham said he “hoped and trusted that these offers had been made”.
In addition to the extra police presence, China has had a hand in building stadiums and donated equipment for the games, including metal detectors, “unmanned vehicles” and walkie-talkies.
It comes at a time when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is working tirelessly to improve Australia’s own relationship with China.
It is unclear how many additional personnel China has deployed to the region – and this is due to increased cooperation between the two countries
Shadow Foreign Secretary Simon Birmingham argued Australia must do more to meet demand from the Solomon Islands rather than China
The Prime Minister traveled to Beijing this week for an official meeting with Xi Jingping, the first visit by an Australian leader since 2016.
His trip comes to mark the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s historic 1973 visit – the first by an Australian Prime Minister to China – and at a time when relations between Beijing and Canberra are thawing somewhat.
The Chinese Communist Party has lifted most of its punitive tariffs on Australian products, with only $2 billion remaining.
China is also reviewing its $1.2 billion ban on Australian wine and is expected to lift sanctions at the end of a five-month process.
The remaining sanctions apply to rock lobsters and some slaughterhouses.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived at Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai for a three-day visit to China
Chinese state media hailed the prime minister’s visit as a harbinger of a new starting point for bilateral ties between the two nations.
On Sunday, Mr Albanese visited a trade fair in Shanghai where many Australian products were on display.
Albanese reaffirmed his pledge to increase the detention of Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has spent more than four years behind bars on espionage charges.
Australia is also increasing its staff in the Solomon Islands ahead of the Games.
The Australian Federal Police has 50 police officers on the ground and is expected to deploy another 100 officers before the games start on November 19.
The Solomon Islands expects 5,000 athletes and staff from 24 countries to participate in the Games, across 24 different sports.
Australian personnel will remain on the ground until at least June 2024 to also assist with the upcoming elections, along with officers from Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
But Prime Minister Sogavare has recently expanded security partnerships to include police pacts with China, which some critics have suggested pose a “threat to Pacific peace.”
Questions have been raised about whether China is taking steps to supplant Australia as the leading security partner in the region.