A security pact with China would help Solomon Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare stay in power. And it would also erode the island’s democracy.
As reported by The Guardian on Thursday, Celsus Irokwato Talifilu, a key adviser to the Premier of Malaita province, made such a statement as he accompanied the premier during a tour in Malaita. Malaita the most populous province in the Solomon Islands.
According to Talifilu, Solomon PM Sogavare could make use of the recently signed security deal with China. He could use Chinese police and military force to repeal dissents, and keep himself in office for years to come.
Talifilu said his main fear is that Chinese military or police personnel would put Sogavare in power for a long time.
He said, “People say we are a democratic country, of course it is. But when you have a force bigger than anyone else in the Solomons, it will be easy for him to use that force to support him and his ministers, or those who are in government, to ensure they come back at the next elections.”
Because China might build a military base in Solomon, Talifilu said that Australia, some regional countries, and even the United States, have legitimate reasons to worry.
And for many on the islands, he said that the major fear is the erosion of its democracy.
China and Solomon signed the security deal last week. The text of the agreement has still been kept secret.
Sogavare said that he would only release the agreement’s content after China approves.
However, a draft of the deal has been leaked. It revealed that Solomon could call upon China’s armed police and military personnel to assist in maintaining social order, protecting people and property. The island could also call for Beijing to help with humanitarian assistance, disaster response or assistance on other tasks.
According to Reuters, Sogavare told a visiting Japanese delegation on April 26 that China would not be allowed to build military bases on the island.
However, Talifilu said that, though Sogavare repeatedly said so, the prime minister’s assurance should not be trusted, because he was not truthful in the past.