China missile attack 'could be imminent' if military access granted on Solomon Islands, expert tells GB News
Security Analyst Conor McLaughlin told GB News a Chinese attack 'could be imminent' if the Solomon Islands parliament allows President Xi to build the military facility
AustrA potential China security pact with the Solomon Island has sparked concerns among US allies Australia and New Zealand about Chinese influence a region where they have for decades held strong sway.
Asked by reporters in Sydney about the matter, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "there is great concern across the Pacific family because we are in constant contact with our Pacific family".
"I will be in further discussions with leaders over the course of this weekend, there was a meeting yesterday with our head of mission and Prime Minister (Manasseh) Sogavare," he said.
Security Analyst, Conor McLaughlin told Mark Steyn on GB News that a Chinese military base on the Solomon Islands would put Australia and New Zealand in "striking distance".
He said: "I think the first thing that a lot of people don't understand about the Pacific in general, is that Chinese presence isn't a new phenomenon.
"They've got a big presence in the Fijian police force. They offer military assistance to Papua New Guinea."
However Mr McLaughlin noted that a Chinese military facility in the Solomon Islands would present a significant threat to Australian and New Zealand security.
He said: "I think what's different about the Solomon case is that an established military base would put China in striking distance to a lot of Commonwealth nations such as Australia and New Zealand.
"I think that's what's most concerning to the Australia government in particular, the fact that a Chinese attack could be imminent, should the military pact pass through the Solomon Islands' parliament."
He also noted that "a lot of people in the Australian security services are calling this Australia's Cuban missile crisis."
Australian PM, Morrison said Sogavare on Friday indicated to Canberra that he appreciated Australia's ongoing support for Solomon Islands.
"We are the Solomon Islands' single largest development partner, daylight second, third, fourth," Morrison said.
Australia has previously expressed concern about the impact on regional security of military cooperation between China and Solomon Islands after a draft document outlining the proposed cooperation was leaked this week.
On Thursday, a Solomon Islands official told Reuters a security deal with China covering the military would be sent to its cabinet for consideration. The Solomons has already signed a policing deal with China.
Solomon Islands, a small island nation around 2,000 km (1,240 miles) northeast of Australia, switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing from Taiwan in 2019, signalling China's growing influence in the Pacific.
Washington last month said it would open an embassy in nation's the capital Honiara amid fears China was seeking to strengthen military relations there.