China ‘closes to Pacific island base’ after Xi Jinping expands military powers

There are warnings today that China is a step closer to establishing a military base in the Solomon Islands after President Xi Jinping authorized an expansion of his country’s armed forces.

Chinese state-backed media said Xi had signed new trial guidelines that allowed Chinese “armed forces operations” that were not war.

They came into force on Wednesday.

The Chinese military has been given legal authority to expand its capabilities in overseas deployments. (AP)

But security experts told 9News the move was the latest in a series of strong moves by Beijing to expand its power in the Pacific region.

“China is laying the groundwork for a military base in the Solomon Islands…something they could establish quite quickly,” said Malcolm Davis, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

He said the new trial powers for the Chinese military were in line with Beijing’s goals in the Pacific.

The superpower recently won the power to protect its investments in the Solomon Islands by force thanks to a controversial security agreement with the small Pacific nation.

State media said Xi’s guidelines would define the role of the Chinese military in some of its existing operations such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions.

China signed a security agreement with the Solomon Islands earlier this year that allows China to protect the security of its citizens and major projects. (AP)

“Chinese troops can prevent the spillover effects of regional instabilities from affecting China, secure vital transportation routes for strategic materials like oil, or protect China’s overseas investments, projects and personnel. “, said the world times reported.

But Davis said the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s new powers were another example of “grey warfare” – state-sponsored coercive actions that do not correspond to conventional warfare.

Xi’s move to ratify non-combat “military operations” comes just months after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine under the guise of a “special military operation”.

Security expert John Blaxland, professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, told 9News that Xi’s decision goes beyond legalizing the role of the military. Chinese in overseas humanitarian missions.

“It shows that China is taking a more proactive and combative approach,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said the new government was examining whether the former prime minister's office had sent a text on election day about a boat of asylum seekers.
Defense Minister Richard Marles talks to his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo. (9News)

Australia should respond by engaging more with Pacific nations to counter the Chinese push, he said.

The subject of China’s rise will be discussed today by Defense Minister Richard Marles and his Japanese counterpart during talks in Tokyo.

“China is seeking to shape the world around it in ways it has never done before. This makes our strategic situation complex,” Marles said yesterday.

Earlier this week, Marles met Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in Singapore in the first in-person ministerial meeting between the two countries in more than two years.

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