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franklin county times

Why are Solomon Islands target of China treaty?

A new agreement between China and the government of the Solomon Islands is in the news. There might be a few people alive here in Franklin County who remember the fight for the Solomons during World War II.

So why did the Japanese set up in the Solomons? Why did the U.S. fight hard for these islands and just not pass over them, as they did to so many other Japanese islands?

Why is China now interested in the Solomons?

There are no great mineral resources. There is no great wealth there.

These islands are strategically important as they are in the Sea Lines of Communication between the U.S. and Australia. If the SLOC through the Solomons are not open, the transit between Australia and the U.S. is extended by thousands of miles.

In August 1942, U.S. forces, primarily Marines, stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Florida in the Solomons. The seven-month campaign was fought on the land, in the sea and in the air.

The cost was high: 7,000 dead, 8,000 wounded, 29 ships lost and 615 aircraft lost.

The Japanese lost much more.

The Japanese saw the same strategic importance of these islands. To accomplish their goals of securing the natural resources of the islands of the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomons were crucial.

By liberating the Solomons, the U.S. was able to protect Australia and start its island-hopping strategy to conquer the Japanese empire.

The United States has a policy of freedom of the SLOC around the world in international waters. This improves trade, thus bringing rising standards of living to more of the world. Geology.com has a map that illustrates the strategic value of these islands.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would be a “red line” for Australia and the U.S. The agreement allows China to send police and military units to assist in domestic law enforcement in the islands.

This would be an easy pretext to a permanent military presence in the islands.

Morrison also said he believes a Chinese base in the Solomon Islands would be a threat to other surrounding nations, such as Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The agreement between the United States and Australia for a joint nuclear submarine treaty has caused concern to countries hostile to U.S. presence in the waters off southeast Asia.  This new treaty would allow the Australians to own some of the technology of U.S. nuclear submarines, and it also allows Australia to build a great portion of the submarines in Australia.

This treaty comes in response to China’s aggressive posture in the waters off southeast Asia.

China has a program of building up the atolls of the Spratly islands to claim the South China Sea as its territorial waters, while many western countries maintain it is international waters. These waters are claimed by several countries, including Malaysia, the Philippians and Viet Nam.

China’s ambitions to control these waters is a threat to free trade and world stability. It is in the direct interest of the U.S. to ensure the free passage of international waters.

The American way of life and America’s commitment to freedom of trade is one of the cornerstones of American foreign policy since the Monroe doctrine. America has a moral duty to ensure freedom where it can – and the international waters are such a place.