The United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has confirmed that the United States plans to reopen the embassy in the Solomon Islands.
He added that this is to counter China’s influence in the politically troubled Pacific Islands. The announcement was made on Saturday, as Blinken visits Fiji for talks with Pacific-Islands leaders.
The State Department added; “China had been utilizing a familiar pattern of extravagant promises, prospective costly infrastructure loans, and potentially dangerous debt levels when engaging with political and business leaders from the Solomon Islands.”
“The United States has a strategic interest in enhancing our political, economic, and commercial relationship with the Solomon Islands, the largest Pacific Island nation without a US embassy.”
And in a notification to the Congress, the State Department said in statement that; “Solomon Islanders cherished their history with Americans on the battlefields of World War II, but that the US was in danger of losing its preferential ties as China aggressively seeks to engage elite politicians and business people in the Solomon Islands.”
Aljazeera claims the move comes after the country was rocked by riots of 700,000 in November. It started and grew from a peaceful protest to highlighting economic problems and concerns about the country’s increasing links with China. The rioters set fire to buildings and looted stores during the protests.
The United States previously operated an embassy in the Solomon Islands for five years before closing it in 1993. Since then, U.S. diplomats from neighbouring Papua, New Guinea have been accredited to the Solomon Islands, which has a U.S. consular agency.
The State Department said it did not expect to build a new embassy immediately but would first lease space in the capital of the country.
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