Taiwan-China row: Oz sends troops to quell riots in Solomon Islands – Times of India

Taiwan-China row: Oz sends troops to quell riots in Solomon Islands – Times of India


Australia will send soldiers and police to the Solomon Islands in a bid to help quell violent protests that have been linked to the Pacific nation’s diplomatic switch from Taiwan to China.
“Our purpose here is to provide stability and security to enable the normal constitutional processes” can proceed, Australian PM Scott Morrison told reporters on Thursday. About 75 members of the defence force and federal police, along with a patrol boat, will be deployed immediately to support riot control and critical infrastructure, he said.
Police in the Solomon Islands’ capital of Honiara used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of about 1,000 anti-China protesters who were demanding the resignation of PM Manasseh Sogavare, the Australian Broadcasting Corp reported. Buildings were stoned and a hut next to the parliament was torched. The Solomon Islands Herald reported that protesters later looted and damaged shops in Honiara’s Chinatown, and marched to the Chinese embassy. Independent journalist Georgina Kekea reported that a 36-hour lockdown has been enforced on the city.
According to ABC, the demonstration was linked to an ongoing issue between the national government and the government of Malaita province, which has refused to recognise China. Daniel Suidani, who leads Malaita, has been a vocal critic of the decision to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing, which opened an embassy in Honiara in September 2020. The Solomon Islands in September 2019 recognised China and ended formal ties with Taiwan. Another Pacific nation, Kiribati, followed suit.
China’s expanding footprint in the Pacific Islands is a concern for the US and its ally Australia. Asked about whether the Solomons’ switch to recognise Beijing was a factor in Australia’s deployment, Morrison said that “there are many different views within the Solomon Islands about those and other matters.” BLOOMBERG





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