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The Solomon Islands’ Deal with China Highlights Western Dilemmas

File image of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (R) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inspecting honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in 2019. WANG ZHAO / AFP

China’s newly-signed security deal with the Solomon Islands is positioning the archipelago state at the center of global strategic disputes between China and Western powers. This has important implications for Africa and other regions in the Global South.

The fight started in late March when a draft security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands was leaked. Clauses that seem to allow Chinese military vessels access to harbor facilities in the Solomons sparked fears that a Chinese base could follow.

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