U.S.’s top Asia coordinator plans to visit the Solomon Islands this month, highlighting Washington’s concerns about the island’s upcoming security agreement with Beijing.

According to Financial Times, citing four people familiar with the plan, on April 9, National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell will accompany Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, in this rare high-level visit.

This move follows the U.S.’s current plan to reopen its embassy on the island after the breakup almost three decades ago to help counter China’s influence in the politically unstable country.

In 2019, the Solomon Islands switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. On March 31, the islands initiated a draft security pact with China.

The leaked draft states that Chinese warships could visit the island for “logistical replenishment.” In addition, Beijing could send police, military personnel, and other armed forces to the Solomons to “assist in maintaining social order.”

The agreement has sparked concerns that the island would allow China to establish a military base.

The Solomon Islands has since rejected the doubt and confirmed that the country would not let China do so. Still, international concerns remain, as Solomon’s Prime Minister explained that the pact is reasonable because the island needs to “achieve its security needs” and “diversify the country’s relationship with other partners” besides Australia – its traditional security partner.

In response to the Solomons’ move, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton stated that Beijing had set up 20 military bases in the South China Sea earlier this month. The Communist Regime’s move has gone against its commitment to the U.S. that it would not militarize the region.

Like Dutton, U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Samuel Paparo said that the Solomons-China pact was “very concerning.”

Paparo told Australia’s ABC reporters, “I’m undoubtedly concerned … and it’s a concern for all of our partners throughout the western Pacific and notably Australia and New Zealand.”

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