Chinese police officers have started training their Solomon Islands colleagues, the island nation has announced
Chinese police have started training their counterparts in the Solomon Islands, the island nation announced on Sunday. The first round of drills took place at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) headquarters in Rove, a western suburb of the capital Honiara, from June 7-11.
“Security challenges are evolving and always threaten this nation and therefore the RSIPF must be well prepared to deal with these threats. This is why these trainings are essential and must be delivered to reach all RSIPF officers in Honiara and the provinces,” said Deputy Commissioner Ian Vaevaso during the opening ceremony preceding the exercise.
The training consisted of practicing “basic skills for handling equipment, basic skills for survival, self-defense and counter-attack, posture and movement”, the Solomon Islands government said in a statement. The drill was conducted by instructors from China’s police liaison team, he added.
The drills follow a security pact signed by Beijing and Honiara in late April. The deal has further worsened already strained ties between Australia and China, also alarming Canberra’s Western allies. The West accused Beijing of seeking to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands, while then-Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison called such prospects a “Red line” for Canberra. US Under Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink has warned that Washington will “significant concerns, and we would very naturally address those concerns” if such an outpost emerged.
China, however, dismissed the criticism, saying it misrepresents “facts and slanders about China’s regular cooperation with countries in Oceania”, while denying hosting any plans to set up a military base in the Solomon Islands. In late May, Western media leaked a draft document suggesting that Beijing planned to offer economic and security cooperation agreements to 10 other small Pacific island nations. The potential agreements appeared to be very similar in nature to the pact signed with the Solomon Islands.
Beijing maintains that it will continue to build ties with Pacific nations despite foreign pressure. The agreement with the Solomon Islands has become an example of “open” and “transparent” cooperation, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said on Saturday.
“The Pacific should be a stage for international cooperation, not an arena for geopolitical games”, Xie told China Media Group in an interview.
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