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Newsline: U.S. envoy visits Solomon Islands after China pact signed

Senior White House official Kurt Campbell will arrive in the Solomon Islands on Friday, as Western concerns rise over a security pact the Pacific island nation recently signed with China. Despite a flurry of calls from Washington and its allies not to go ahead with the deal, China and the Solomon Islands said this week they had signed the agreement, with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare telling parliament on Wednesday it would not undermine peace. Sogavare on Friday will join China’s Ambassador Li Ming for the handover of facilities donated by China for Honiara to host the 2023 Pacific Games, the prime minister’s office and the Chinese embassy said. (https://news.yahoo.com/u-adviser-campbell-visits-solomon-030506944.html) The U.S. delegation led by Campbell, President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific coordinator, has discussed the China-Solomon Islands agreement with neighbouring Fiji and Papua New Guinea over the past two days, the U.S. embassy in Port Moresby said in a statement on Friday. The security pact is a major inroad for China in the Pacific, raising the prospect of a Chinese military presence less than 2,000 km (1,200 miles) from Australia.

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