China has criticized Australia for opposing its security pact with the Solomon Islands, calling it a violation of sovereignty motivated by a colonial myth, and saying Canberra has no right to set any “red line”.
This came as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said setting up a Chinese military base in the South Pacific country would be a “red line” for his government, days after Beijing and Honiara confirmed the signing of the agreement without revealing details.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefe said Thursday that talk of China building a naval base in the Solomon Islands was “pure false news”, accusing the Australian government and media of deliberately distorting facts and stirring up tension.
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Cooperation under the new security agreement will include “preserving social systemProtection of people’s lives and property and humanitarian aid [and] Tan reiterated the emphasis on responding to natural disasters.
Addressing an online event with Pacific island countries on the same day, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng said that negotiating and signing a security cooperation agreement is a “sacred right of two sovereign countries” in line with international laws and norms, and no one has Right to point a finger at China.
On what basis can Australia draw a ‘red line’ for the Solomon Islands, 2,000 km [1,200 miles] Far away, China, 10,000 kilometers? If it is not an infringement on the sovereignty of another country, an interference in the internal affairs of another country, a violation of international rules, then what is it? “
Shih said Australia’s stance amounts to “disinformation, slander, coercion and intimidation”, and proof that it remains “obsessed with colonial myths, coercive diplomacy, and an effort to control the Pacific islands to maintain its so-called sphere of influence”.
He declared that “the Pacific Ocean is the common home of the countries of the region, not someone’s ‘backyard’ or ‘grass’, and it should be a theater for international cooperation, not a chessboard for geopolitical games.”
The security agreement between China and Solomon is “open and transparent [and] “Launching a climate change cooperation center for China and the Pacific island countries in east China’s Shandong Province,” Xie said at a virtual event.
He said China understands the climate change challenges facing the island nations and is willing to provide assistance “as a friend, partner and brother.”
The event was attended by officials from the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Micronesia, Kiribati, Fiji and Vanuatu.
Prime Minister Solomon Manasseh Sogavari and Chinese Ambassador Li Ming attend the opening ceremony of the China-funded National Stadium complex in Honiara on April 22. Funded National Stadium Complex in Honiara on April 22nd. Photo: AFP>
“China has no selfish interest in developing relations and cooperation with Pacific island countries,” Xie stressed. “[It] It does not seek ‘spheres of influence’ or engage in bullying and coercion but is always a constructive force for peace and development.”
The security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands, since it was announced last week, has raised serious concerns about the United States and its Pacific allies.
The White House sent a High-level delegation to Honiara To warn Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavary of an unspecified action against his country. On Monday, US ally Japan also sent its deputy foreign minister, saying the deal with Beijing could affect the security of the entire Asia-Pacific region, while New Zealand, the Pacific country, wondered whether it would destabilize the region.
Australia, which is the largest aid donor to Solomon and has security ties with it, has reacted stronger. It tried to pressure Sugavari not to sign the deal when the news first broke in March.
And while Morrison reiterated his opposition to a Chinese naval base, other politicians made stronger rhetoric regarding the deal’s impact on Australian national security.
Sujavari has sought to reassure Whatever the Chinese rule says was not forthcoming, he urged critics to respect his country’s sovereign interests, and said traditional partners, such as Australia and New Zealand, remain important.
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