Beijing: China “Condemns Violence” in Solomon Islands

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BEIJING: China said on Friday that it condemned the riots in the country Solomon Islands and would ensure the security of its citizens there, after a third day of protests against the PacificPeking leader.
“China … condemns the violence that has caused serious damage and loss of property”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, adding that Beijing will “secure the security and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and institutions.”
The explosion of violence is partly a result of frustrations over the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, as well as long-standing enmity between the inhabitants of the country’s most populous island of Malaita and the central government.

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Solomon Islands: Pacific archipelago paralyzed by unrest

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People walk through the looted streets of Chinatown in Honiara, Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday blamed foreign officials for his government’s decision to change alliances from Taiwan to Beijing for protests against the government, arson and looting that have ravaged the capital Honiara in recent days. (AP image)

Malaita residents have long complained that their island has been neglected by the central government – and the split intensified when Sogavare suddenly switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing instead of Taiwan in 2019.
The struggle for influence between China and Taiwan in the Pacific has long been fought on the islands, which have a small Chinese community.
The latest violence in the capital Honiara is said to have been started by protesters who traveled from Malaita with the locals who then joined.
Chinese companies have been attacked by insurgents and looters in the past, and the capital’s Chinatown district was targeted this week.
Zhao said on Friday that “the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Solomon Islands is in line with the trend of the time and is a correct choice that can stand the test of history”.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, he said that relations between the two had made “remarkable progress” while “practical cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results”.

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