Amidst the rising tensions in Europe, the Pacific is proving to be another battleground in the struggle for control and influence between Eastern and Western powers. In a press conference last Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the construction of a Chinese military facility in the Solomon Islands would serve as a “red line” for his administration following the signing of the Solomon Islands-China security deal.

Morrison added that his country’s concern is shared by the major powers in the region, as well as the United States, who share the same “red line” with Australia, according to the Prime Minister.

“This is a shared concern, not just Australia. This is Australia with regional governments,” he said.

“We won’t be having Chinese military naval bases in our region on our doorstep,” Morrison added. The Solomons is just 1,200 miles (2,000) kilometers from Australia. Having a Chinese base in the islands brings the possibility of a nearby hostile base in the event of a conflict.

Last Wednesday, Solomon Island Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmed that his government had signed a security deal with China. The agreement would allow the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to send military and police personnel to the island “to assist in maintaining social order.”

The security pact will also allow Chinese military vessels to use the Solomons port facilities for “logistical replenishment,” which has drawn concern for a possible Chinese naval base in the country.

Sogavare defended his country’s decision as part of their current “internal security situation,” noting that the agreement complemented a previous 2017 security deal with Australia that allowed Australian peacekeepers to be deployed in Honiara, the Solomon Islands’ capital.