US President Joe Biden is set to send Kurt Campbell, the National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific, to the Solomon Islands.

The move follows growing concerns of a security pact between the Pacific nation and China, which is set to be signed.

The agreement, which could see Chinese warships based in the Solomon Islands, has shocked leaders across the region.

It could also lead to a Chinese military base being established in the Solomon Islands in return for increased aid from Beijing.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said his country was insulted by the international backlash received when news of the draft agreement broke in March.

He said the Pacific Islands' nation will not allow China to build a base in the country, via statement released last week.

“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,” he said.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said he doesn’t expect the Solomon Islands to allow a base but warned of the growing militarisation in the region.

"The Solomon Islands has been very clear they won't allow a military base there," he told Nine on Sunday.

"But we are concerned that was essentially the same commitment given by President Xi to President Obama in the South China Sea and we now have 20 points of military presence by the Chinese in the South China Sea.

"We need to be realistic about the threats in our own region and that is why Australia is standing with our allies," he said.

"We can't take for granted the democracy we've got, our freedom of speech, our adherence to the rule of law and the principles that have stood us well over decades. We need to stand up to bullies and we are doing that."

The United States’ incoming ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy has called for growing diplomacy in the area to counter the growing Chinese influence.

“Together with Australia, with the infrastructure partnership we have, we can do more and should do more and we must stay engaged in a vital region,” she told a Senate hearing on Thursday.

“We need to be more visible.”


Source: Sky News