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China cautions its nationals in Solomon Islands as unrest continues

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Honiara | November 28, 2021 1:02:13 PM IST
The Chinese Embassy in the Solomon Islands on Sunday asked its nationals to strengthen security precautions after days of violent protest in the island nation.

An employee at the Chinese Embassy told the state media tabloid Global Times that the situation has shown signs of easing, however, security precautions still need to be strengthened.

He said the embassy has been holding meetings with Chinese nationals on the island, in an attempt to register their points of concern and to swiftly resolve them.

Meanwhile, the leader of island nation Manasseh Sogavare has blamed "foreign powers" for encouraging the unrest in the country that is a key battlefront in the Pacific region.

Papua New Guinea and Australia are sending police officers to the hotly-contested region after violent protests targeted parliament, Chinese businesses and other buildings in the Pacific nation's capital, Honiara. Experts say that the unrest has deep roots and is threatening to topple Sogavare's government.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister said that his government is still in control but has asked Australia and Papua New Guinea for help to provide security.

The reasons for the current tensions include the long-standing ethnic tensions, allegations of corruption, and disputes over the government's move to enhance ties with China, American broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) reported.

Back in 2019, the Solomon Islands switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.

Former Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands James Batley said that community tensions over links with China have stoked the unrest.

"It is not foreign policy per se, but I think this diplomatic switch has fed into those pre-existing grievances and in particular the sense that the Chinese have interfered in politics in Solomon Islands, that Chinese money has somehow fostered corruption, has distorted the way politics works in Solomon Islands," Batley was quoted as saying by VOA. (ANI)

 
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