Power Play

Why small Pacific islands matter in big power rivalry

China's signing of a security pact with the Solomon Islands has rattled the US, which seems to have lost sight of the geostrategic importance of the South Pacific.

Solomons' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (left) and China's ambassador to the Solomon Islands Li Ming in Honiara on April 22, 2022. PHOTO: AFP
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Eighty years ago, the battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands saw some of the fiercest fighting of World War II.

That campaign was the first major land offensive by the United States against the Japanese, and marked a turning point for the Allies, as they sought to wrest back the Pacific Islands from Japan.

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