News analysis

Australia confronts 'great' defence fear as China inks Pacific security deal

The government of Solomon Islands confirmed that it will enter a security pact with Beijing this week. PHOTO: REUTERS
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SYDNEY - Australian defence planners have always insisted that one of the nation's principal security objectives is to prevent a rival power from setting up a military base in the south Pacific.

So officials in Canberra were alarmed this week when the government of Solomon Islands, a Pacific nation off Australia's north-east coast, confirmed that it would enter a security pact with Beijing - a move that would allow Chinese security forces to be deployed there and could enable the establishment of a Chinese base.

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