The full title of this article from The EurAsian Times by Sakshi Tiwari dated 22.04.22 is: Chinese Warships, Fighter Jets Heading To Australia’s Backyard ‘In Weeks’ As Beijing Projects Power In Southern Pacific — Reports"
After days of making desperate diplomatic overtures in the region against the deal, Australia was left ‘disappointed’ as the signing of the agreement was announced earlier this week.
On April 19, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announced the agreement in Beijing, adding that China would work with Honiara to preserve social order, defend people’s safety, provide aid, combat natural catastrophes, and help safeguard national security, ABC News had reported.
Despite Solomon Islands’ assurances to Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific countries that it would not allow China to create a military facility on its soil, security experts are concerned that China could deploy its men and material before Australia’s federal elections next month.
Chinese President Xi Jinping with Solomon Islands’ PM Manasseh Sogavare (via Twitter)
Chinese military forces, ships, and aircraft could be expected to deploy in the Solomon Islands in the next few weeks, Australia has been warned by security experts. There are rising fears that China may move quickly to build a military post fewer than 2,000 kilometers from the Australian coastline.
China has the largest Navy in the world with two operational aircraft carriers and a third on its way, this is besides advanced destroyers, cruisers, anti-ship cruise missiles, anti-ship ballistic missiles, and a fleet of stealth fighter jets, heavy bombers, just to name a few. Any deployment of the Chinese army near Canberra could be a massive security threat.
Richard McGregor, senior fellow for East Asia at the Lowy Institute, believes Beijing will move as rapidly as it can to build a physical presence before the federal election. China’s long-term goal, he warned, is to establish a permanent military presence in the Pacific.
“Once you have a presence there with the various leasehold arrangements, it’s pretty hard to make you leave. Once you have that, if the circumstances allow, you can expand it”, he told The Australian.
China has been seeking opportunities to make forays into the Pacific region which has been strongly opposed by Australia- the net security provider in the region. Australia has been collaborating with the West to strangle China’s Pacific ambitions. However, alarm bells are now ringing loud and clear as the bugle has been sounded by Beijing.
“We can expect China to seek to consolidate this development very quickly by actually moving assets there, so we should expect cargo planes to arrive and ships to arrive and they’ll be unloading all manner of stuff,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Their model is what they’ve done in the South China Sea, which is to move quickly and decisively before people can gather their thoughts and resist.
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File Image: China’s nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine.