10/04/2022 : Solomon Islands government rejects terms of agreement with the United States to avoid offending China
This Tuesday, October 4, the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare announced that he had agreed to sign the joint declaration involving the United States and a dozen Pacific states, but only on the condition that certain references be removed. When asked about the nature of these references, particularly whether or not they referred to China, the Prime Minister replied: «indirectly».
«Some references would have forced us to choose sides, and we don’t want to be in a position where we have to choose sides,» said Jeremiah Manele, Solomon Islands’ foreign minister, quoted by the South China Morning Post.
Last week, the United States government announced that it was offering 810 million US dollars in aid to the Pacific states, including 20 million for tourism development in the Solomon Islands.
Two days after this announcement, Mr. Sagovare went to Canberra to meet his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. The Associated Press media outlet reveals that to reassure his Australian neighbor, Manasseh Sagavare assured him that his government would not «endanger his country» by authorizing the building of a Chinese naval base on its territory.
05/10/2022: Bandung-Jakarta railway project to be soon finalized
According to the South China Morning Post, the railway project linking Bandung to Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, is about to be finalized. Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping announced a joint inspection of the high-speed line, which is partly financed by Chinese capital, during the G20 summit to be held in Bali from November 15 to 16. This project is part of the Belt and Road initiative.
10/06/2022 : Sri Lanka initiates talks on debt restructuration with China
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Oct. 6 that his government has begun discussions with China on restructuring the country’s debt. According to the U.S. media Associated Press, Japan has agreed to mediate the talks.
Sri Lanka has been experiencing a severe economic crisis since the beginning of the year, and in recent months has been on the verge of bankruptcy. The South China Morning Post reports that the country’s foreign debt reaches $51 billion, of which $28 billion must be repaid by 2027. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to provide an initial $2.9 billion in aid over four years, but this is on the condition that Sri Lanka restructures its debt.
10/06/2022 : UN Human Rights Council rejects call for debate on Xinjiang human rights report
A call to discuss human rights violations in Xinjiang was rejected in a vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday, October 6. Of the 47 members of the Council, 19 voted against, 17 voted for, and 11 abstained. According to The Guardian, among countries refusing to take a stance were Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Qatar and Indonesia, but also India and Mexico. Several countries whose position is not mentioned nevertheless have important economic interests with China, notably African nations and Kazakhstan.
The Chinese ambassador to the Human Rights Council, Chen Xu, quoted by the Forbes newspaper, accuses Western nations of political manipulation, and in particular the United States, of whom he decried «fabrication of rumors and lies».
For her part, the China director at Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson, commented on the results and explained to The Guardian that «a growing number of states are ready to buck Chinese pressure and not remain silent, […] and to shed light on China’s swiping rights violations.»