Why this building was the ONLY one NOT attacked during anti-Chinese riots in the Solomon Islands – and the reason will infuriate China as Australian police arrive to help restore order
- Australian troops deployed to Solomon Islands amid anti-Chinese chaos
- Several buildings burned down, but one was unharmed
- It was significant to see Taiwanese flags fluttering in front of the property
A building with three Taiwanese flags out front has escaped unscathed as anti-Chinese riots see the Solomon Islands plunge into chaos.
Protesters have left a trail of destruction in the past two days as they lashed out against Chinese influence in the South Pacific.
Meanwhile, Australian police forces have arrived in the Solomon Islands to secure the region after days of rioting in the capital Honiara.
A building prominently displaying three Taiwanese flags (pictured) remained untouched, while other shops and businesses in the Solomon Islands were set on fire as protests rage over the country’s decision to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China
Rioters set fire to Kukum police station on Thursday when street violence forced Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to shut down Honiara and impose a curfew
A crowd gathers at Naha Police Station as they brave the lockdown in the capital. The island nation has erupted into anti-Chinese riots, so fierce that Australia has decided to send troops and police officers
Australia has deployed 23 Australian federal police officers, including tactical response teams, to assist the Pacific island nation with stability.
Another 50 AFP officers and 43 members of the Australian Defense Force will fly to the country on Friday.
Home Secretary Karen Andrews said Australian troops were armed with lethal and non-lethal weapons.
“Our role is to help the Solomon Islands Police Department to restore law and order as quickly as possible,” Andrews told ABC TV on Friday.
“This is a police matter, not a military one, so we’re working very closely with the police there.”
Ms Andrews said Australia’s deployment was in response to a request for help from the government of the Solomon Islands under a bilateral security treaty.
Special Operations officers from the Australian Federal Police head to Honiara as the vanguard of Australia’s rapid deployment of peacekeeping
Twenty-three AFP officers flew out on Friday (pictured), with 50 more to follow along with 43 members of the Australian Defense Force
“We are not here to interfere in any way in internal affairs,” said Ms Andrews.
Foreign Secretary Marise Payne said it is likely that the Australian deployment in the region will take weeks.
Although there was no exact figure, she estimated that there were 200 Australian citizens in the country.
“We will engage with them as needed in terms of those who may want to leave,” Senator Payne told ABC Radio.
“Importantly, the travel advice is very, very clear about avoiding demonstrations and protests.”
A firefighter walks past a burned down hardware store in Honiara. Rioters have targeted shops and businesses in the city’s Chinatown area
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has imposed a 36-hour lockdown and curfew in Honiara in an effort to quell unrest.
The lockdown ended on Friday morning.
Sogavare has blamed foreign powers for fueling unrest in the country.
The widespread protests started largely as a result of the island nation’s decision in 2019 to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.
While MPs in the Solomon Islands have expressed concern that Australian intervention could bolster support for Mr Sogavare, Senator Payne said Australia would not intervene in domestic politics.
“These are issues they need to resolve, of course we encourage engagement and dialogue, but it’s not our place to comment,” she said.
“There’s a wide recognition that it’s important to support stability where we can.”
Pacific Minister Zed Seselja said the situation was challenging but the government understood that all Australians in the country were safe.
“(Australian Armed Forces) are going into an unstable situation, but we have every confidence that they will have the highest level of professionalism while dealing with this,” he told ABC Radio.
“It’s about restoring order, it’s not about taking sides in any political process.”