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Pacific News Minute: US reacting cautiously to relationship between Solomon Islands and China

China Solomon Islands Security
Charley Piringi/AP
The Chinese national flag flies outside the Chinese Embassy in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Friday, April 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Charley Piringi)

The United States is reacting cautiously to continuing developments in the Solomon Islands and the country’s relationship with China.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink is Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He was part of a high-level U.S. team that met recently with the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare to discuss concerns about a security deal the country recently signed with China.

The islands are located about 1,200 miles northeast of Australia.

Kritenbrink said he believes the agreement presents “potential regional security implications” for the U.S. and other allies.

In a statement last week, the Biden administration said the U.S. would “respond accordingly” if China was allowed to establish a long-term presence on the islands. Sogavare has said that he had no intention of allowing a military base

The text of the security deal between China and the Solomon Islands is secret, although Solomon Islands parliament members have called for the prime minister to release it publicly.

Kritenbrink said that the United States is not in the business of asking countries to choose between the U.S. and China or anyone else.

But he added it is interested in promoting “a proactive vision for the shared interests and principles that we believe are vital to all of our friends across the region."

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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