(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. will “respond accordingly” should Beijing’s security pact with the Solomon Islands lead to a permanent Chinese military presence in the Pacific nation. 

While the U.S. respects the rights of countries to make decisions in the best interests of their people, there are potential regional security implications of the accord for the U.S. and its allies, the White House said in an April 22 statement. No details of the security implications, or response were offered.   

Kurt Campbell, the Biden administration’s Asia czar, led a delegation to the South Pacific this week that included a 90-minute meeting with Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. That came after the U.S. and Australian governments voiced concern at the new security agreement, which is seen as a diplomatic victory for Beijing in a region which has usually turned to Washington and Canberra for support. 

“If steps are taken to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation, the delegation noted that the United States would then have significant concerns and respond accordingly,” the White House said in the statement.

Read More: Why the Solomon Islands’ China Pact Has U.S. Riled: QuickTake

No final version of the security agreement has been made public but an earlier draft, leaked on social media in late March, would allow the China to send its military to the Solomons, if requested by the Pacific nation. It would also give Chinese naval vessels a safe harbor in the country, which is about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coast.

Sogavare told the Campbell-led delegation the agreement had solely domestic applications and there would be no Chinese military base, no long-term presence and no power-projection capability, the White House said. 

The U.S. agreed to establish a “high-level strategic dialogue” with the Solomon Islands, expedite the opening of an embassy in the country and other health and wellbeing activities including the delivery of additional vaccines and to advance initiatives on climate change, it said. 

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.