China and the Solomon Islands have initialled a draft security agreement, sparking concerns among regional players such as Australia.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has not released details of the draft security agreement with China.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has not released details of the draft security agreement with China. (AFP Archive)

The Solomon Islands has said it will not allow a Chinese military base in the Pacific islands nation despite its plans to sign a security pact with Beijing.

A day after the two countries initialled a draft security agreement, the office of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Friday the agreement does not invite China to establish a military base.

"Government is conscious of the security ramification of hosting a military base, and it will not be careless to allow such initiative to take place under its watch," a statement said.

Sogavare has not released details of the security agreement with China, amid concern sparked by a leaked draft that allowed Chinese navy ships to replenish in the islands. Ministers have not yet signed it.

The draft security pact has sparked a backlash, with a host of regional players voicing their concerns.

READ MORE: China to dispatch police advisors, riot gear to Solomon Islands

Security concerns

Australia's Defence Minister Peter Dutton said he respected Sogavare's perspective but urged caution.

China established 20 points of military presence in the South China Sea despite telling the United States it would not militarise the region, Dutton said in an interview with Sky News.

And Canberra feared Beijing was on a similar pathway in the Pacific islands, Dutton added.

A Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would prompt Australia to significantly increase its military deployment to the region because the islands are very close to Australia, he said.

Australia's foreign minister Marise Payne said on local radio the security agreement between Solomon Islands and China would undermine stability in the region.

The leader of the Federated States of Micronesia urged the Solomon Islands on Thursday not to sign the pact, saying he feared the Pacific could become embroiled in war between China and the United States.

New Zealand has also warned against the pact, which it says could upset long-standing regional security cooperation.

China's foreign ministry said on Thursday "the China-Solomon islands security cooperation does not target any third party and does not conflict with other countries". 

It said the agreement covered social order, protecting lives and property, and natural disaster response.

READ MORE: Australia holds China’s 'belligerence' at bay with missile investments

Source: Reuters