US officials find China-Solomon Islands security deal ‘very troubling’, internal emails reveal | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware


United States officials described the signing of a security pact between China and Solomon Islands as “very troubling” in internal emails, a freedom of information (FOI) request has revealed.

Emails obtained by international news outlet Al Jazeera show how officials at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) responded to news the deal had been signed in mid-April.

“Yikes. This is very troubling,” Ryan Washburn, USAID’s mission director to the Philippines, Pacific Islands and Mongolia, wrote in an email.

“This is very unfortunate,” said Erin Nicholson, acting deputy assistant administrator for the USAID Bureau for Asia.

News of the deal was described as “very unfortunate” by one official. (Supplied: USAID)

In response to the ABC’s coverage of the signed pact, the deputy mission director for the Pacific Islands and Mongolia, Sean Callahan, said it was “deja vu all over again”, in reference to when Solomon Islands switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019, ahead of a United Nations General Assembly.

“The press and academia in Canberra and Wellington are making those same comparisons from 2019 too referring that again we got ‘played’ by the PM,” he wrote.

An extract from a USAID email chain that concern the signing of a security deal between China and Solomon Islands. 
One official said the news was “like deja vu”. (Supplied: USAID)

In the emails, officials questioned the timing of the deal and discussed the best way to respond to the news, which came just days out from a planned trip to Honiara by US officials, including the Indo-Pacific coordinator of the National Security Council, Kurt Campbell. 

The US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan had raised concerns about the controversial security pact between Beijing and Honiara, after a draft copy of the deal was leaked earlier this year.

The West expressed concern the pact could lay the groundwork for a Chinese military base or presence in the region. 



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