Amid Solomon row, China says South Pacific not backyard of Australia, US

Beijing, Apr 25 (EFE).- China Monday brushed aside the Australian and United States’ concerns over its security pact with the Solomon Islands, saying South Pacific was not the backyard of Washington and Canberra.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the bilateral security agreement was not targeted at any third country, referring to Australia and New Zealand, amid concerns that China might establish a military base in the Pacific island nation.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that the US was “trying to replicate the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific region (that) is unpopular and will not work.”

He referred to the 1823 policy of then-President James Monroe, widely seen in Latin America to justify US armed intervention in the region.

The spokesperson said the apprehensions about the alleged Chinese military base in the oceanic country were unsubstantiated.

He said a hypothesis was “entirely disinformation fabricated by people with ulterior motives.”

Wang was referring to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s remarks that the construction of a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would mean a “red line” for his country.

Washington has also said increased the Chinese military presence would raise serious concerns.

“The US has built nearly 800 military bases in more than 80 countries and regions around the world. When will these military bases be closed,” the spokesperson asked.

The spokesperson said he had noticed that the US and Australia accused Beijing of the lack of transparency in the framework agreement on security cooperation between China and Solomon.

He said the same question could be asked about a trilateral defense agreement between the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia that includes an offer to build nuclear submarines for Canberra built with American technology.

“We have to ask, when do the US, the UK and Australia intend to hand over the AUKUS to regional countries, including the South Pacific island nations, for deliberation?”

The Solomon Islands, a historical strategic partner of Canberra, broke its alliance with Taiwan in 2019 to recognize China.

The country has since shifted its foreign policy to favor China, stoking tensions with its traditional partners and within the country.

Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated, leading to a trade dispute after Beijing imposed tariffs on various Australian exports.

Australia has passed a series of laws to block alleged foreign interference in the politics and economy of the country without directly citing China. EFE


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