NHK reported that the governments of the Solomon Islands and China announced on Thursday that they have agreed to conclude a bilateral security pact. The network said that although the details of the pact are not yet available, an Australian media outlet has reported that the draft agreement includes a clause allowing Chinese navy ships and defense forces to be deployed in the Solomon Islands. The network said that the island nation has been deepening its ties with China since 2019 when it broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established them with China. The Australian media said that the move would help China to expand its military influence in the South Pacific and that Australia and New Zealand have expressed concern. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a news conference on Thursday that Pacific island countries are not an arena for major-power rivalry and that attempts to obstruct and undermine China’s friendly relations with island countries will never succeed.