A group of 32 police officers from the Solomon Islands has flown to China to train in policing techniques and improve their understanding of Chinese culture, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force said in a statement.
China has provided public order management training to police in the Solomon Islands since the two countries in April signed a security pact, an agreement that alarmed the US and its allies, including Australia, which traditionally provided policing support.
The 32 officers would visit police stations in China during their month-long visit, the force said in the statement.
At a White House summit with Pacific island leaders last month, the US, seeking to counter China’s rising influence in the strategically important region, said it would send FBI law enforcement trainers to the Solomon Islands this year.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare previously told Australia that it remained the nation’s security partner of choice and denied the pact with China would allow Beijing to set up a military base.
Australian police quelled anti-government riots in Honiara, the Solomon Islands’ capital, in November last year.
Beijing says the security pact would allow Chinese police to protect Chinese projects and personnel in the Solomon Islands.
Chinese construction and telecommunications companies have struck multimillion dollars deals for infrastructure projects in the Pacific nation.
The rivalry between Asia’s two biggest countries has extended into outer space. After India’s landing of its Chandrayaan-3 rover on the moon last month — becoming the first country to put a spacecraft near the lunar south pole and breaking China’s record for the southernmost lunar landing — a top Chinese scientist has said claims about the accomplishment are overstated. Ouyang Ziyuan (歐陽自遠), lauded as the father of China’s lunar exploration program, told the Chinese-language Science Times newspaper that the Chandrayaan-3 landing site, at 69 degrees south latitude, was nowhere close to the pole, defined as between 88.5 and 90 degrees. On Earth,
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