US Solomons embassy aims to counter China
14 February 2022
NOOSA – Cold on the heels of the Solomon Islands and China establishing diplomatic relations and, coincidentally, just a day after the disclosure of a broad-based cooperation plan between the two countries, the United States has announced its intention to open an embassy in Honiara.
The US had an embassy in the the country between 1988 and 1993, when it was closed.
Since then the Solomons has been served by the US embassy in Port Moresby, which also covers Vanuatu.
The US has sufficed with the minimal representation of a ‘consular agency’ in Honiara (I’m guessing that’s one person) which at present is inconveniently closed for a couple of months, no reasons given.
The US State Department announcement said the new embassy was required before China becomes “strongly embedded” in the Solomons and that China was “aggressively seek[ing] to engage” senior figures in Solomons politics and business.
There was the usual clutching for affinitive parallels showing how closely was the love between the two countries with the State Department having to reach back nearly 80 years to, rather insensitively, declare that Solomon Islanders cherished their history with Americans on the battlefields of World War II.
In December China announced it would send police advisors and riot gear to the Solomons as foreign peacekeepers began to leave following a period of civil violence.
The Solomons government accepted the offer of equipment and six liaison officers to train its police force.
Visiting the region last week, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US strategy for the Indo-Pacific emphasised building partnerships to counter China’s growing influence and ambitions.
It said it did not want to remain “a remote player”.
In its statement, the State Department said China had been “utilising a familiar pattern of extravagant promises, prospective costly infrastructure loans and potentially dangerous debt levels” when engaging with Solomons political and business leaders.
However, the State Department said it would not build a new embassy immediately but lease office space for two US diplomats and five local staff.
This reminds me of the movie 'Our Man in Havana' (1959), released when I was being trained to fight in the Cold War era. I wonder if Honiara has vacuum cleaners for sale.
Only hope the Yanks don't get affected by the mysterious Havana Syndrome when they move into their expected new embassy.
Certainly Blinken is a tough hawkish adviser to have on board the Biden team with whom he has been close for many years. In fact Blinken helped the geriatric president raise £200 million [K800 million] for his 2020 election.
Don't know if that is a good idea as 'Our Tony' (Blair) has supported many USA foreign fiascos over his 20 years in foreign affairs. He supported the shambolic mess of the Iraq invasion, likewise Afghanistan.
He also supported his government's involvement in Syria even to the extent of arming the anti-government mob who just like arming the mujahideen against Russia in the 1980s ended up with those weapons being in the hands of Al-Qaeda, Isil and other rugged ragged fascist groups.
Some of those were still being used during USA's twenty year unsuccessful occupation of Afghanistan.
It also allowed the continuation of Iraqi and Syrian oil to be illegally expropriated. As Trump said in October 2019, “We control the oil!”
Perhaps the former president saw Turkey grabbing Syrian oil for years during the civil war, so why not us Yankees.
He supported the 2011 NATO involvement in Libya in what was that nation's first civil war, sadly with others to follow which continue to this day. Was that about their oil too?
About Solomon Islands:
2022/02/12 Blinken Says U.S. Has a ‘Long-Term Future’ in the Pacific Islands at New York Times
'Fiji was the second stop on Mr. Blinken’s weeklong trip across the region, which is meant to signal that the Asia-Pacific is the primary focus of President Biden’s foreign policy.
'As he was leaving Australia for Fiji, the White House released an 18-page paper on its so-called Indo-Pacific strategy, emphasizing a need to “shape the strategic environment” in which China operates.
'That includes promoting democratic institutions and civil society in the region, as well as helping countries “DEPLOY ADVANCED WAR-FIGHTING CAPABILITIES”(my capitals) according to the document....
That is just continuation of normal USA policy of keeping war from it homeland until last possible moment, ie WW1 & WW2.
Oz, Fiji and NZ had troops and/or police in Honiara but with Xmas a coming soon quickly began to pull them out. Yet its neighbour PNG only expects to get them out by end of January that's what friends are for.
Posted by: Arthur Williams | 15 February 2022 at 12:26 AM
I guess the CIA spooks have to have somewere to hang their hats after hard days work keeping an eye on those pesky Chinese diplomats?
Posted by: harry topham | 14 February 2022 at 01:57 PM