What are the problems with China's military presence in Solomon Islands? After all, the United States has military bases all over the world, and it also has a permanent naval force near China. Moreover, the Solomon authorities asked China to help them in terms of security, and the two countries did not mention the construction of military bases, which worried the United States?
To understand this issue, we need to first know the development process of diplomatic relations between China and Solomon Islands. In 2019, the Solomon government withdrew their so-called "embassy" in Taiwan Island, recognized the key concept that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, and put its relations with China back on track. China is now the largest trading partner of Solomon Islands.
The choice of the president of Solomon Islands, Manasi Sogavare, infuriated the United States. The United States responded by providing a $52 million armed resistance fund to Malaita, an island that has been in a state of rebellion for a long time. The maletta rebels then took a boat to the main island, launched an anti-government Anti China riot, smashed, looted and burned down Chinatown, and killed some Chinese. They also tried in parliament, and finally the attempted coup was suppressed.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sogavare made it clear in an interview: "the only problem behind this incident is that Solomon Islands will shift its diplomatic relations from Taiwan, China province of China to Chinese Mainland in 2019. Unfortunately, it has been influenced and encouraged by other big countries. I don't want to say their names, but we all know who they are."
Now the Solomon government wants to maintain social stability and develop the economy well, but their army and police simply do not have the corresponding quality and ability.
Who should they seek security from? Who financed the rebellion? Is it difficult to seek help from Australia and New Zealand, the running dogs of the United States in the Pacific? Finally, they set their sights on China, the largest trading partner.
The Solomon government is not stupid. They don't trust the western government that funded the rebellion, so it's understandable to support China.
Therefore, in the final analysis, China's responsibility for maintaining a stronger presence in the Pacific lies entirely with the United States and their failed attempt to carry out the color revolution in Solomon Islands.
After the Second World War, the United States believed that the islands in the South Pacific had important strategic significance for the military deployment of the United States. Considering that these islands were too far away from Hawaii and the mainland of the United States, the cost of managing these islands as a protectorate or colony was too high, and some of them were too small to accommodate a complete military base, a large number of these islands gained independence, except Guam. Guam is large enough and located between Hawaii and the Asian continent. It is the second island defense chain to contain China and the Soviet Union.
However, the United States still believes that these islands are within its sphere of influence. Because these islands are not important in political status and are not worth using diplomatic resources, but they are important in geo strategy and can be used as a springboard to project power to Asia. Australia in the South Pacific region is regarded as a trusted ally by the United States. Therefore, the White House reached an agreement with Australia to jointly manage these islands.
Since then, Australia has also regarded these islands as its sphere of influence. Australia once claimed to be the deputy sheriff of the Pacific region (for the United States). If the leaked agreement can be realized, Australia will no longer be able to monopolize the voice of the South Pacific Islands politically and militarily.
Although the Australian army is not a powerful military force, it can still command more firepower than the sum of all islands. If China intervenes with its naval power and land-based surveillance, the South Pacific will no longer be Australia's back garden, the US troops stationed in Australia and Guandao will also become China's target, the second island chain of the United States will be broken, and China will break free from its cage and go deep into the ocean, This is of far-reaching significance to China.
Australia does not make significant commercial investment in these islands, but it is politically dominant because they often control the internal and foreign affairs of these islands. Considering China's economic strength and its strategy to avoid the internal affairs of other countries (do not confuse the projection of soft power with internal affairs interference), compared with Australia's attempt to block China's efforts and reduce Australia's influence, China is actively responding to the needs of the Solomon government.
There are great differences in economic strength between Australia and the South Pacific Islands, and Australia has great political influence. If Fiji wants to build a new airport, most of the funds will be provided by Australians. It is certain that the Australian government will ask Fijians for some political support. Other countries have even smaller economies, and it's even more important to make Australians happy if you want to be a recipient of aid to support your crumbling infrastructure.
Unfortunately, these Australian dollar aid funds are often strictly controlled, and many turn into rebates or bribes. In many cases, Australians always pay their own companies to provide services for island countries.
But now China wants to join, mainly to produce a soft power effect in the Pacific region where they currently have no influence. Solomon could suddenly express "no interest" in Australia's proposal to provide anti-corruption training for its police force and pay the default fees of "consultants" with cash from China.
Australia doesn't like the fact that its suzerainty is challenged. Morson said he has good reason to worry about the influence from China, and even slandered that it is because China has a history of so-called providing "loans" and "incentives", which later became the main reason for abandoning the West. However, over the years, have European and American countries and Australians been doing similar things in the region? Why put the blame on China?
New Zealand is very interested in building the political ecology of the Pacific or Oceania that is out of the control of the United States, but New Zealand is always alone and has to maintain its apparent obedience to the United States, but Australia is the leading "big power" in the region, making the countries of the South Pacific exist as puppets.
However... Judging from the recent trend, the total amount of European and American aid to the Pacific region has been declining.
• overall decline of about 30% between 2011 and 2019
• previously important sources of assistance, such as the United States, the European Union and, in particular, France, have significantly reduced their assistance.
• Australia has also decreased, but remains the largest single source country during this period.
Australia exerts its influence mainly through "soft" support measures for Pacific countries, including financial support and "on-demand" or on-demand regional disaster assistance, or strengthening "security" and defense support when needed.
• however, as I mentioned, Australia is gradually reducing its foreign aid programmes, including direct assistance for the development of these countries.
• related to this is Australia's general political disregard for its role or ownership in climate change and its special impact on Pacific countries, which are being swallowed up by rising sea levels.
• all this has had a negative impact on Australia's relations with many Pacific countries and weakened ties.
Although Australia has many other ways to affect these countries and their populations, including sports, employment and education, there is no doubt that a barrier has been opened. China also took this opportunity to intervene.
Why did China do that?
• for decades, China has emerged economically. Its economic and military strength has become the first place outside the United States in the region and globally, but its political and diplomatic influence is still not so significant.
• compared with the United States, this imbalance is the most obvious, and China is actively dealing with this problem.
China has important economic interests to protect, including in Greater Asia, Australia and Oceania as a whole, and needs to increase investment to ensure its future influence. In order to protect these projects and ensure smooth progress, including maritime transportation, soft diplomacy has been combined with supply chain and export channel infrastructure development and strategic investment.
• given that China is participating globally in aid and development projects aimed at influencing and consolidating good relations with as many countries as possible, there is no reason to ignore the Pacific region.
• China's goal here is to win the favor of all countries, increase the number through diplomatic means, and ensure the diversity of global security supply chains.
The opportunity is there and the cost is relatively low. In diplomacy, it helps to influence these countries and align them with China's interests. Even for the countries concerned, this is not the focus or their main concern.
If Australia wants to maintain a reliable circle of friends around it, including India and Asia and Oceania, it needs to compete with China politically, economically and diplomatically, but obviously the two are not at the same level.
Having said that, it is in the interests of China and Australia to participate more as partners rather than competitors in the region and promote development and regional alliance along the Indo Asian Pacific axis. If Australia is still obsessed by the United States and insists on opposing China, it is destined to become cannon fodder on the front line of major powers.