Beijing Targets Kiribati With Security Pact
A Pacific island is located only 3,000km from Hawaii where U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is based.
China is intensifying its drive for influence in the Pacific by negotiating security deals with two additional island nations following a pact with the Solomon Islands, according to officials in the US and allied countries.
Beijing’s talks with Kiribati are the most advanced, the officials said. “They are in talks with Kiribati and at least one more Pacific island country over an agreement that would cover much of the same ground as that with Solomon Islands,” said an intelligence official from a US ally.
The warning that Beijing is trying to further increase its clout in the Pacific came as President Joe Biden begins a visit to Asia intended to reassure allies of US commitment to regional security amid China’s push for influence.
The negotiations with Kiribati follow the deal Beijing signed with the Solomon Islands, which some experts believe will allow China to build a naval base in the country located north-east of Australia.
According to a leak of a draft deal from March, the pact with the Solomons could allow China to send police and even military forces to the islands, a development that shocked the US and it allies in the Indo-Pacific from Australia and New Zealand to Japan.
In September, 2019, the Republic of Kiribati announced that it cut off "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan. It is the second country to do so in less than a week, after the Solomon Islands government voted the similar decision.