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FSM President appeals to Sogavare to stop deal with China

Thursday 31 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Federated States of Micronesia, Regional

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FSM President appeals to Sogavare to stop deal with China
News Programmes Schedules How to Listen About RNZ Pacific PACIFIC SOLOMON ISLANDS30 minutes ago FSM President appeals to Sogavare to stop deal with China 30 minutes ago Share this Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share via email Share on Reddit Share on Linked In Federated States of Micronesia's President David Panuelo has appealed to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to scrap the China Solomon Islands security pact. President of the Federated States of Micronesia David PanuloPresident of the Federated States of Micronesia David Panulo Photo: FSM National Government

Federated States of Micronesia's President David Panuelo has appealed to Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to scrap the China Solomon Islands security pact.

According to the FSM national government "such a novel and unprecedented security agreement" between the two countries "poses a risk of increasing geopolitical tensions" across the region.

Although the security arrangement was strictly a matter between Honiara and Beijing, it will affect all Pacific nations, said Panuelo.

He said the Federated States of Micronesia can't "endorse or agree" with Solomon Islands if it proceeds with a security relationship with China "because of its far-reaching and grave security implications for a harmonious and peaceful" Pacific region.

RNZ Pacific's correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, said Panuelo is speaking from a unique platform given Micronesia's bilateral relations with both the US and China.

"Which is that it has a compact of free association with the United States and also many decades long diplomatic ties with China. This is unique in the region because the other two compact states both have ties with Taiwan," he said.

Meanwhile, a Pacific political expert says concerns about China's influence in the Pacific is unjustified.

University of Hawaii's director of Pacific Islands Studies, Tarcisius Kabuataulaka, says Beijing won't establish a naval base in the Solomons anytime soon.

"Beijing limits its international military presence. The only military base that China has outside of China is in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and therefore China, if it can internationalise its security apparatus from China, then it does not necessarily need to have military bases."