Senator Katy Gallagher:
“In times past, we have been the power that countries in the Pacific rely upon, and that has changed under this government’s watch. It has made our position in this region less secure … The prime minister has been missing in action.”
‘The Solomons’ decision to sign a pact with China is a failure of Australian soft power that goes back years, starting with Tony Abbott’s cynical and disastrous decision to rip billions of dollars out of foreign aid in 2014.
As Australia stepped back, Beijing went on an infrastructure blitz throughout the Pacific.’
World leaders are already stressed by the global contest between DEMOCRACY and AUTOCRACY … now confronted by the ‘Solomons deal’ … which enables China to intercede when it believes its ‘foreign investments and DIASPORA’ (the spread of people from their original homeland) are allegedly under threat.
Who are really under threat?
Chinese investment is across the globe – 140 plus nations have joined on to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
China has lent large sums of money to countries for roads, dams, railways, ports and sports facilities.
*Charles Edel, the Australia chair and a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, described the deal in these terms:
“The lesson for the rest of the world is that China is looking to rebalance the global order in its favor,” he said.
“And whether that means opening trade routes, establishing a military facility or signing a security agreement, Beijing will act to benefit its own interests, to the detriment of democracy and an open and free world.”
The Solomons aren’t the only place where the Chinese government has sought to couple security and economic arrangements — it has done so from Djibouti to Pakistan to Cambodia, where China has launched infrastructure projects that helped it gain access to strategic ports. * “
Think DARWIN …
“But Mr. Edel said the agreement in the Solomons was “in some ways even more concerning.”
Think real estate: location, location, location.
Because the nation of roughly 900 islands sits across shipping lanes connecting the United States to Asia, the Solomons (and its neighbors) have long been a strategic priority — as Japan showed in World War II …
“The security deal between China and the Solomon Islands did not materialize out of thin air,” Mr. Edel said.
“China has ramped up its presence and extended its influence across the Pacific over the past decade, and as it has done so, Beijing has been on the hunt for a military base in the region, which would allow it to project power outward and further influence the politics across the Indo-Pacific region.”