Australia sends troops to the Solomon Islands: Chinatown attacked again
Sawako Utsumi and Kanako Mita
Modern Tokyo Times
The tense situation in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, has led to Australia sending troops to this country. Thus troops deemed peacekeeping are hoping to quell the situation after two days of rioting in Honiara.
Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, promised to help this Pacific Island country concerning a 2017 security agreement signed by both nations.
Morrison said, “Our purpose here is to provide stability and security to enable the normal constitutional processes within the Solomon Islands to be able to deal with various issues that have arisen and that be done in a climate of peace, stability and security.”
The Solomon Islands parliament was stormed by irate protesters. Thus protesters seek to overthrow the current prime minister of this nation.
The BBC reports, “Australia and the Solomon Islands have a 2017 bilateral security treaty that allows Australian police, defense and associated civilian personnel to be deployed rapidly to the Solomon Islands in the event of an emergency.”
Chinatown is once more under attack by protesters who are mainly from the island of Malaita. People on this neighboring island were unhappy in 2019 when Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare moved closer to China by rejecting Taiwan. Hence, in this period Chinese owned businesses were also targeted.
People on the island of Malaita claim that they are neglected by the central government based in Honiara. However, racial targeting of Chinese businesses needs to be condemned by all parties. After all, grievances should be focused on the main areas of concern related to people feeling neglected on the island of Malaita.
Despite the 36-hour curfew riots continue along with protests in the Chinatown part of Honiara.
Australian forces were deployed between 2003 and 2017 because of inter-island tensions in the Solomon Islands. Likewise, in 2006, racial attacks against the Chinese community occurred.
Lee Jay Walker says, “Indigenous communities in Fiji and the Soloman Islands feel left behind by various ethnic groups emanating from China or India depending on which nation. Similarly, in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and other Pacific Island nations it seems that Europeans and other ethnic Asian groups are thriving at the expense of the indigenous.”
This issue needs addressing along with political elites and foreign companies exploiting the resources of this region while poverty remains severe among various indigenous ethnic groups.
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