The Solomon Islands has signed a security agreement with China ©Getty Images

United States officials will visit the Solomon Islands this week amid concern over a security pact with China, which is expected to be discussed.

The White House National Security Council has confirmed Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell and Daniel Kritenbrink, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will lead a delegation to the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

The US Government said the visits will reaffirm their commitment to ensuring a "free and open Indo-Pacific", which included a vow in February to establish an embassy in the Solomon Islands.

The visit was announced prior to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin announcing a framework agreement on bilateral security cooperation had been signed with the Solomon Islands.

A proposal was announced by the Solomon Islands Government last month, with the nation claiming having more security partners would help to ensure "peace and security when needed."

The agreement could allow the Solomon Islands request China send police and military personnel if required, leaked documents show, while China could deploy forces to protected "Chinese personnel and major projects".

The Solomon Islands has rejected claims the agreement could lead to China establishing a military base there.

Australia, which sent peace-keeping forces to the Solomon Islands in November after rioting, had warned against the agreement being signed.

The Australian Foreign Minister warned the agreement could "undermine stability in our region".

The US has also expressed concern, with US State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirming the topic would be addressed by the delegation this week.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed the security agreement had been signed ©Getty Images
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed the security agreement had been signed ©Getty Images

"Despite the Solomon Islands Government’s comments, the broad nature of the security agreement leaves open the door for the deployment of PRC military forces to the Solomon Islands," Price said at a briefing.

"We believe that signing such an agreement could increase destabilisation within the Solomon Islands and will set a concerning precedent for the wider Pacific Island region.

"We note that Australia and New Zealand have had longstanding law enforcement and security ties with the Solomon Islands.

"At the request of Prime Minister [Manasseh] Sogavare, an Australia-led multinational peace-keeping force from Fiji, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea effectively restored calm to Honiara following the outbreak of violence and rioting in November of last year.

"This multinational group quickly aided Solomon Islands and effectively supported a rapid return to peace.

"We’ve communicated with our allies and partners in the region, including, of course, with Australia and New Zealand, which have expressed concerns about how this agreement may threaten the current regional security paradigm.

"Part of the task of the upcoming visit will be to share perspectives, to share interests, to share concerns, and I do expect the full range of all of those will be on the docket."

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said there were concerns over the agreement ©Getty Images
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said there were concerns over the agreement ©Getty Images

Rioting in November had been partly linked to the Solomon Islands' growing ties with China, having switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan.

China has been heavily involved in supporting the Solomon Islands' preparations to host next year’s Pacific Games.

Taiwan was originally given permission to build facilities for the Games, but China became the largest supporter after diplomatic allegiances changed.

Earlier this month, the Organising Committee for the Games held a meeting to advise security firms on the scope of work and the requirements to contribute during the Pacific Games.

The event is scheduled to be spread out across eight sporting venues, seven Games Villages and other sites such as the competition’s headquarters, airport, a cultural village, transport centre, a family hotel, logistics compound and a uniform distribution centre.

Organisers anticipate 500 guards in total to be required across the sporting venues at peak times, plus 175 guards at the Games Villages.

Other venues will need 200 guards for peak shifts.

Security is needed at sports venues and Games Villages between October 27 and December 8 in 2023, while the requirement will last until January 31 in 2024 for some other sites.

The Solomon Islands is due to host the multi-sport event for the first time from November 19 to December 2 next year.