China hits back at Australia over Solomon Islands 'red line', saying 'the Pacific is not someone's backyard'

China hits back at Australia over Solomon Islands ‘red line’, saying ‘the Pacific is not someone’s backyard’

China has slammed Australia for opposing its safety pact with Solomon Islands, calling it a colonialist myth-driven violation of sovereignty and announcing Canberra had no proper to put down any “red line”.

This got here as Australian High Minister Scott Morrison mentioned a Chinese language army base within the South Pacific country can be a “red line” for his govt, days after Beijing and Honiara showed the signing of the deal with out revealing main points.

Communicate of China development a naval base on Solomon Islands was once “purely fake news”, Chinese language defence ministry spokesman Tan Kefei mentioned on Thursday, accusing the Australian govt and media of deliberately distorting info and growing rigidity.

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Cooperation underneath the brand new safety pact would contain “maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property, humanitarian assistance [and] natural disaster responses”, Tan reiterated.

Addressing a web based tournament with Pacific Island international locations the similar day, China’s vice international minister Xie Feng mentioned negotiating and signing a framework safety cooperation settlement was once “the sacred right of two sovereign countries” in keeping with world rules and norms, and nobody had the precise to indicate hands at China.

“On what grounds can Australia draw a ‘red line’ for Solomon Islands, 2,000km [1,200 miles] away, and China, 10,000km away? If not an infringement of another country’s sovereignty, interference in another country’s internal affairs and a breach of international rules, what is this?”

Xie mentioned Australia’s stance amounted to “disinformation, defamation, coercion and intimidation”, and evidence that it was once nonetheless “obsessed with colonialist myths, exercising coercive diplomacy, trying hard to control the Pacific islands to maintain a so-called sphere of influence”.

“The Pacific is the common home of regional countries, not someone’s ‘backyard’ or ‘turf’, and should be a stage for international cooperation, not a chessboard for geopolitical games,” he declared.

The China-Solomon safety settlement is “open and transparent [and] not targeted at third parties,” Xie informed a digital tournament launching a cooperation centre on local weather alternate for China and Pacific Island nations, within the jap Chinese language province of Shandong.

He mentioned China understood the local weather alternate demanding situations dealing with the island international locations and was once prepared to supply lend a hand “as a good friend, partner and brother.”

Attending the development nearly had been officers from Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Kiribati, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Solomons High Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese language ambassador Li Ming attend the hole rite for a China-funded nationwide stadium complicated in Honiara on April 22. Photograph: AFP alt=Solomons High Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Chinese language ambassador Li Ming attend the hole rite for a China-funded nationwide stadium complicated in Honiara on April 22. Photograph: AFP>

“China has no selfish interest in developing relations and cooperation with Pacific Island countries,” Xie asserted. “[It] does not seek ‘spheres of influence’ or engage in bullying and coercion but is always a constructive force for peace and development.”

Since being introduced remaining week, the China-Solomon Islands safety pact has sparked sturdy issues from the USA and its Pacific allies.

The White Space despatched a high-level delegation to Honiara to warn High Minister Manasseh Sogavare of unspecified motion in opposition to his nation. US best friend Japan on Monday additionally dispatched a international vice-minister, announcing the take care of Beijing may impact the protection of all the Asia-Pacific area, whilst fellow Pacific country New Zealand has additionally puzzled whether or not it’ll destabilise the area.

Australia, which is the Solomons’ greatest help donor and has safety ties with it, reacted much more strongly. It had attempted to drive Sogavare into no longer signing the deal when the inside track first broke in March.

And whilst Morrison has reiterated his opposition to a Chinese language naval base, different politicians have offered even more potent rhetoric at the affect of the deal on Australia’s nationwide safety.

Sogavare has sought to reassure all {that a} Chinese language base was once no longer within the offing, urging critics to recognize his nation’s sovereign pursuits and mentioned that conventional companions, reminiscent of Australia and New Zealand, remained necessary.

This text at first gave the impression within the South China Morning Put up (SCMP), probably the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for greater than a century. For extra SCMP tales, please discover the SCMP app or seek advice from the SCMP’s Fb and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Put up Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Put up Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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