Beijing says Australia, US and UK are building military bloc in Oceania without consultation with region players
In response to Australia’s criticism of its security pact with the Solomon Islands, China has accused Canberra and its partners of “arms racein the South Pacific.
†Australia forms a military bloc in the region with the United States and Great Britain and encourages an arms race without discussing relevant issues with the countries of Oceania,Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
The recently signed security agreement between Beijing and the Pacific country is a matter of concern for Australian authorities. Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed that a Chinese military base on the Solomons is a “Red linefor Canberra.
The Solomon Islands, a small archipelago state, is located about 2000 km northeast of Australia.
Zhao refuted the reports of his country’s alleged plans to establish a new military foothold, calling them “fake news†
He underlined that signing security cooperation agreements is a “sacred right of two sovereign countries” and is fully in line with international practice. He also stressed that China’s pact with the Solomon Islands is open and transparent and does not focus on “any third parties.†
Therefore, the spokesperson added, Australia would be “opaque” approach which, as he claimed, is considered very worrying by the countries in the region.
Zhao’s statement follows last week’s comments by the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, who said the West has “no worriesabout his country’s agreement with China, stressing that his country feels “offended” at the “persistent lack of confidence” demonstrated by Australia.
Sogavare also claimed that the Solomon Islands see a threat to their interests and must deal with the risk of “Military intervention” asked by western countries.
†We are threatened with invasion,he warned. “Well, that’s serious.”
The country’s prime minister had previously criticized Australia for being hypocritical when it came to the Solomons’ pact with China. He argued that Canberra failed to consult with its other partners last year when it unveiled the AUKUS deal – a security pact involving Australia, the UK and the US – that will pave the way for Canberra to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.
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