Chinese Police Train Solomon Islands Police Due To Security Challenges
SOLOMON ISLANDS - Chinese police have begun training Solomon Islands police officers, with the first batch of exercises taking place at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in Rove, which is a suburb of Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands.
At the opening ceremony for the exercises, Deputy Commissioner Ian Vaevaso said that "The security challenges are evolving and still out there threatening this nation and therefore RSIPF must be well prepared to tackle these threats. That is why these trainings are critical and must be delivered to reach all RSIPF officers in Honiara and the provinces".
The Solomon Islands government put out a statement saying that the training involved practicing "basic equipment handling skills, basic survival skills, self-defense and counterattack, posture and movement" and was carried out by instructors with the China Police Liason Team, it said.
The police training follows a security pact, or bilateral security cooperation recently signed by China and the Solomon Islands that includes cooperating on matters of humanitarian assistance, disaster response, maintaining social order, and other areas of security.
One part of the agreement however that allows for Chinese ships and military forces to be sent to the island has raised alarms and caused concern from the United States and its allies.
A clause located within the agreement documents stipulates that China will be able to "make ship visits to, carry out logistical replacement in, and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands" and also allow Chinese forces to be sent to the Solomon Islands in order to "protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects".
The clause has caused the United States, as well as its allies, to be concerned that China may send its military to the Solomon Islands in order to establish a permanent base and use the islands in order to resupply their naval vessels.
This has been a very real concern for Australia, as Australia is within a thousand miles of the Solomon Islands. A Chinese base on the islands could give China a launching point for its military in the region.
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had stated that a military base by China on the Solomon Islands would be a "red line" for Australia. US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink also said that Washington has some "significant concerns, and we would very naturally respond to those concerns" if a Chinese military outpost were to show up there.
China, on the other hand, has said that the criticism of the move is distorting "facts and slanders China's regular cooperation with the countries of Oceania" and has denied that they have any plans at all to build a military base on the islands.