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Solomon Islands block foreign navy vessels

  • Published
    1st Sep, 2022
Context

The Solomon Islands has suspended entry into its waters for foreign navy ships pending adoption of a new process for approval of port visits, in a bid to better police its exclusive economic zones.

About

About the Solomon Islands:

  • Solomon Island is an archipelago of about thousands of islands.
  • Its capital city is Honiara and it is located on Guadalcanal Island.
  • The neighbours are Tuvalu lies in the east, Vanuatu in the south, Australia in the South-west, and Papua New Guinea in the west.
  • The government type of Solomon Islands is a constitutional monarchy featured with a parliamentary system of government.
  • The Solomon Islands is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The economy of the country largely depends upon agriculture and fishing.
  • However, some of the natural resources available on the islands are lead, zinc, nickel, and gold.


China’s growing influence:

  • The Solomon Islands established a security agreement with China, saying it needed Beijing’s assistance with its domestic security situation.
  • According to a report by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Beijing views the Pacific Island region as an important component of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Specifically, it sees the region as a critical air freight hub in its so-called Air Silk Road, which connects Asia with Central and South America.
  • Solomon Island’s strategic location in the Pacific would be advantageous for China from a military perspective.
  • As per CFR, the United States and its regional allies, such as Australia and New Zealand, are concerned that the China-Solomon Islands security pact allows Chinese naval vessels to replenish there.
  • That could open the door to a Chinese naval base which would significantly extend China’s military reach in the South Pacific.
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