Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who was not popularly elected, and has faced mass protests last year calling for his ouster, is set to received a visit from US officials.

Many speculate that this push is designed to encourage him to reconsider the signing of a security pact with China, one that would seemingly overlap with protections offered by Australia, which deployed troops last year to maintain order as the deeply unpopular PM lost control of his own capital city, Honiara, during those mass protests.

This would resemble a trip made last week by Australia’s Pacific Minister, who explicitly asked for Sogavare’s reconsideration of the deal.

Both may be worried that the deal may lead to a regional Chinese military presence, to which Sogavare suggested that no base will be created.

However, the pact does allow for the Chinese military to forcefully intervene in the country at Sogavare’s request, which raises questions over how they would respond if there are further protests against his increasingly authoritarian rule, or whether this may be justification for the PRC to prop him up.

This is especially pertinent as the protests last year calling for his ouster were mostly sparked by his establishment of diplomatic recognition with the PRC, ultimately leading to violence against the Chinatown in the capital, begging the question of why he would then further deepen ties with a state that is so disliked by Solomon Islanders.