China is using its deep pockets to expand its presence in the Pacific islands. It appears that Beijing is trying to peel away diplomatic allies from Taiwan while securing access to sea lanes. Advocates of a "free and open Indo-Pacific" must not stand idly by.
The Solomon Islands have become the latest focus of the diplomatic tug of war between Beijing and Taipei. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said the country will decide within the year whether to maintain relations with Taiwan or switch to mainland China. Observers suggest that the Solomon Islands seek to play the two off against each other to extract more aid.