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Why Are Australians So Freaked Out About China’s Security Deal With the Solomon Islands? Because They Saw What Happened in Djibouti

China’s promises that its new security pact with the Solomon Islands is not a precursor to the PLA building a new military installation in the South Pacific carry very little weight with Australian analysts who say they’ve heard these same assurances before.

In 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping assured his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama that Beijing would not militarize islands in the South China Sea, which they later proceeded to do. Then, later that same year, Chinese officials steadfastly denied that they had any plans to build an actual military base in Djibouti, calling it “a logistics center” instead. 

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