Fri, 19 Aug 2022

Canberra, [Australia], November 27 (ANI): Australian peacekeepers restore order to the Solomon Islands after anti-China riots as Sydney accuses Beijing of stoking conflict in the Pacific.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Australian peacekeepers have restored order to the Solomon Islands after furious anti-China riots saw buildings set ablaze and shops looted.

Protesters have left a trail of destruction over the last three days, venting fury at the government's decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China.

Earlier, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has blamed foreign powers for encouraging the unrest in the country that is a strategic battleground in the hotly-contested Pacific region.

Further, Sydney dispatched police to the islands to provide security but promised it would not 'intervene in any way in domestic matters.'According to the Wall Street Journal, it emerged this week that a Chinese spy ship lurked off the Australian coast for three weeks, passing major military bases which have hardened Canberra's stance towards Beijing and fueled the tensions.

In continuation, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton launched a broadside against China for stoking conflict in the Pacific, citing Beijing's aggression towards Taiwan and attacks on democracy in Hong Kong.

The above stance on China comes in the wake of the formation of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States Alliance ( AUKUS).

On the other hand, China and Taiwan have been rivals in the South Pacific for decades with some island nations switching allegiances.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province with no right to state-to-state ties, which the government in Taipei hotly disputes.

Only 15 countries maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The last two to ditch Taipei in favour of Beijing were the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September 2019.

On the other hand, neighbouring Papua New Guinea also sent 35 police and security officers to Honiara on Friday.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia was sending 100 police personnel and was 'clearly focused on stability in our region'.

Further, Australian police were previously deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2003 under a peacekeeping mission authorised by a Pacific Island Forum declaration and stayed for a decade.

Earlier, severe internal unrest and armed conflict from neighbouring countries have spilled into the Solomon Islands. (ANI)

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