Sydney—Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said Friday his government would not allow a Chinese military base to be built in his country “under its watch” as he defended a pending security agreement with Beijing.
Sogavare, echoing a fiery speech he made to Honiara’s parliament this week, dismissed concerns the deal would allow China a base in the South Pacific and labelled the claims as “misinformation promoted by anti-government commentators”.
If China was to set up its military base in the Pacific, “it would have done so with either Papua New Guinea or Fiji,” he said in a statement, arguing that they were among the first South Pacific nations to establish bilateral relations with Beijing.
“Government is conscious of the security ramification of hosting a military base, and it will not be careless to allow such initiative to take place under its watch,” he said.
A draft version of the agreement, leaked last week, detailed measures to allow Chinese security and naval deployments to the crisis-hit Pacific Island nation.