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Australia: Australian peacekeepers restore order to the Solomon Islands

Australia sending troops to help with unrest in the Solomon Islands

  Australia sending troops to help with unrest in the Solomon Islands Australia will send troops at the request of the Solomon Islands prime minister after protests in the capital of Honiara turned violent. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced 23 AFP officer will be sent immediately, while 43 ADF personnel will go tomorrow."Our purpose here is to provide stability and security," Mr Morrison said, adding that Australia will not intervene in the internal issues of its Pacific neighbour. © Getty Images/iStockphoto Australian troops are being sent to the Solomon Islands after unrest in the capital of Honiara.

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Australian peacekeepers have restored order to the Solomon Islands after furious anti-China riots saw buildings set ablaze and shops looted.

Protesters have left a trail of destruction over the last three days, venting fury at the government's decision to switch diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has blamed foreign powers for encouraging the unrest in the country that is a strategic battleground in the hotly-contested Pacific region.

Sydney dispatched police to the islands to provide security but promised it would not 'intervene in any way in domestic matters.'

riots to Solomon: Beijing is alarmed for Chinese interest

 riots to Solomon: Beijing is alarmed for Chinese interest © AFP D Es New riots shook Thursday Solomon islands, bringing the Australia to deploy a peacekeeping force, on The background of rivalry between the China and Taiwan, while Beijing is alarmed for its interests in this Pacific archipelago. The Solomon Islands, which since 1983 had diplomatic ties with Taiwan, chose in 2019 to break with the territory to recognize the communist power in Beijing as a legitimate representative of China.

It comes as Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton launched a broadside against China for stoking conflict in the Pacific, citing Beijing's aggression towards Taiwan and attacks on democracy in Hong Kong.

Adding to the tensions, it emerged this week that a Chinese spy ship lurked off the Australian coast for three weeks, passing major military bases.

'We're all familiar with the frequent claims of the Chinese government that it is committed to peace, cooperation and development,' Dutton said in a speech in Canberra.

'And yet we bear witness to a significant disconnect between the words and the actions. We've watched very closely as the Chinese government has engaged in increasingly alarming activities.'

Australian forces arrive for Solomons help

  Australian forces arrive for Solomons help The first two flights with Australian police officers have arrived in the riot-hit Solomon Islands to help quell unrest.Australia has deployed 23 Australian Federal Police officers, including tactical response teams to the Pacific island nation to help with stability.

The Chinese embassy said Dutton had distorted China's foreign policy, misled the Australian people and was 'fanning conflict and division between peoples and nations'.

'It is inconceivable that China-Australia relationship will take on a good momentum... if the Australian government bases its national strategy on such visionless analysis and outdated mentality,' it said in a statement.

A night-time curfew has been imposed in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara after tear gas was fired in Chinatown in the capital, Honiara, to stop the looting.

Many of the protesters come from the most populous province Malaita and feel overlooked by the government in Guadalcanal province and oppose its 2019 decision to end diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal links with China.

Malaita premier Daniel Suidani said in a statement this week that Prime Minister Sogavare had 'elevated the interest of foreigners above those of Solomon Islanders' and should resign.

Here's what Australian forces will be doing in Solomon Islands amid internal unrest

  Here's what Australian forces will be doing in Solomon Islands amid internal unrest Here's why Australia is stepping in on the unrest in Solomon Islands, and what our servicemen and women will be doing in the Pacific nation. What will our armed forces be doing?Australia has sent AFP and ADF personnel to Honiara, primarily to protect critical infrastructure and support local police.Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an initial 23 AFP officers were deployed "to support riot control".

'I feel sorry for my people in Malaita because they are fed with false and deliberate lies about the switch,' Sogavare told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

'These very countries that are now influencing Malaita are the countries that don't want ties with the People's Republic of China.'

China and Taiwan have been rivals in the South Pacific for decades with some island nations switching allegiances.

China views Taiwan as a wayward province with no right to state-to-state ties, which the government in Taipei hotly disputes.

Only 15 countries maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The last two to ditch Taipei in favour of Beijing were the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September 2019.

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Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said in a statement to Reuters: 'We have nothing to do with the unrest'.

China is concerned about the developments in the Solomon Islands, Zhao Lijiang, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, told a regular news conference.

'Facts have proven that the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Solomon Islands is in line with the fundamental and long-term development of the Solomon Islands,' Zhao said. 'Any attempt to undermine the normal development of China-Solomon Islands relations would be futile.'

What powers and immunity will Australian forces have while deployed in Solomon Islands?

  What powers and immunity will Australian forces have while deployed in Solomon Islands? Australia is putting troops on the ground in Solomon Islands after violent protests erupted in the Pacific nation. What powers and immunity will they have?Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australian Federal Police and Defence Force troops are there to provide "security and stability", but not to interfere in the country's internal affairs.

Solomon Island resident Transform Aqorau said more than a hundred people were on Friday looting shops, before Australian Federal Police officers arrived.

'The scenes here are really chaotic. It is like a war zone,' Aqorau told Reuters by telephone on Friday morning.

'There is no public transport and it is a struggle with the heat and the smoke. Buildings are still burning.'

He said later Australian police were 'taking control of Chinatown'.

Neighbouring Papua New Guinea also sent 35 police and security officers to Honiara on Friday.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia was sending 100 police personnel and was 'clearly focused on stability in our region'.

Australian police were previously deployed to the Solomon Islands in 2003 under a peace keeping mission authorised by a Pacific Island Forum declaration and stayed for a decade.

Severe internal unrest and armed conflict from 1998 to 2003 involved militant groups from Guadalcanal and the neighbouring island of Malaita, and fighting on the outskirts of Honiara.

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Short Solomons deployment still on cards .
The Australian government still expects the deployment of troops to the Solomon Islands to be short-term despite fears of another wave of violence.Zed Seselja said Australian Defence Force and federal police personnel were in the Solomon Islands to provide peace and stability amid tensions over the prime minister's China stance.

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