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The United States is opening an embassy in the Solomon Islands after 29 years

The United States is reopening its embassy in the Solomon Islands in Oceania. A senior State Department official made the announcement on Saturday. Washington is strengthening its presence in the region amid growing Chinese influence in Oceania, the AFP news agency reported.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to visit Fiji, a neighboring country of the Solomon Islands. During his visit to Fiji, he will announce the opening of a new embassy in the Pacific island nation. The announcement came 29 years ago after the United States reduced its diplomatic presence in Honia.

The United States closed its embassy in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, in 1993. Now there is a US Consulate there. Through this consulate, diplomatic relations are conducted in the country. Solomon also has a US embassy in Port Moresby, the capital of neighboring Papua New Guinea.

Violent and deadly riots erupted on the island nation of 800,000 in November last year before the US announcement. The protesters then tried to vandalize the parliament. They then set fire to most parts of Chinatown in the capital, Honiara, for three days.

The unrest is aimed at ousting the veteran Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manseh Sogavare, out of anger over poverty, unemployment and the conflict between one island and another. However, anti-China sentiment also played a role in the days-long violent protests.

The opening of a new embassy in the Solomon Islands would require the approval of the US Congress and the White House on the US State Department’s proposal.