Chinese police will arrive in the Solomon Islands this month to help provide security for the Pacific Games – as Anthony Albanese attempts to mend relations with the superpower.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has revealed China has donated equipment and provide personnel to provide security for the games.
While it’s unclear how many officers will be deployed in the Solomons, it shows relations between the two are strengthening.
Australia has long had an interest in the Solomon Islands and worked closely with the government to assist, providing more than $2.5billion in development aid since 2008.
‘As part of preparation for the Pacific Games 2023, People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Public Security increased the personnel input of the China Police Liaison Team as well as conducted 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 provide security for the Pacific Games
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed last week that China had donated equipment and volunteered a small contingent of the police liaison team to help manage the games
‘The Solomon Islands has consistently said that Australia remains their preferred security partner of choice. It begs the question, if that’s the case, why isn’t Australia providing any additional security if it’s required for the Pacific Games?’ he asked last week.
Mr Birmingham said he would ‘hope and trust those 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 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 it comes on the back of increased cooperation between the two nations
Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham argued Australia should be stepping up to meet the demand needs of the Solomon Islands instead of China
The PM travelled to Beijing this week for an official meeting with Xi Jingping, marking the first visit by an Australian leader since 2016.
His trip comes on the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s landmark visit in 1973 – the first by an Australian Prime Minister to China – and at a time when relations between Beijing and Canberra are thawing slightly.
The Chinese Communist Party has lifted most of its punitive tariffs off Australian products, with only $2 billion worth remaining.
China is also reviewing its ban on Australian wine, worth $1.2 billion, and is expected to remove the sanctions at the end of a five-month process.
The remaining sanctions apply to rock lobster and some abattoirs.
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived at Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai for a three day visit to China
China’s state media hailed the Prime Minister’s trip as heralding a new starting point for bilateral relations between the two nations.
On Sunday, Mr Albanese visited a trade show in Shanghai where many Australian products were on display.
Mr Albanese reaffirmed his pledge to raise the detention of Australian writer Yang Hengjun, who has spent more than four years behind bars over accusations of espionage.
Australia is also stepping up its personnel in the Solomon Islands ahead of the games.
The Australian Federal Police have 50 police officers on the ground and are expected to deploy a further 100 before the games begin on November 19.
The Solomon Islands are expecting 5,000 athletes and staff from 24 nations 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 election, working alongside officers from Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
But Prime Minister Sogavare has broadened security partnerships recently with policing pacts with China which some critics have suggested pose a ‘threat to the Pacific region peace’.
Questions have been raised about whether China is making moves to displace Australia as the lead security partner in the region.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk