China sees red over PM’s comment on the Solomon Islands

In China, Featured Home Page News, Government

China has criticised Scott Morrisons’ comments on a military base in the Solomon Islands deeming it would be a “red line” for Australia.

Xie Feng China’s vice foreign minister said “What right do these countries have to point fingers at China? What qualifications does Australia have to draw a ‘red line’ against the Solomon Islands … and China, which is thousands of miles away?” Mr Xie said during an online event.

Mr Morrison said today that Chinese influence was behind Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s recent criticism of the Australian government.

Mr Sogavare said he was blindsided by the announcement of the AUKUS security pact and accused Australia of failing to protect Chinese-built infrastructure during riots in the Solomons last year.

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From Adelaide Now 

The Chinese government has angrily responded to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s concerns that Beijing could be planning to establish a naval base on the Solomon Islands.

CHINA LASHES PM’S ‘RED LINE’ COMMENT

China has lashed out at Prime Minister Scott Morrison for saying a military base in the Solomon Islands would be a “red line” for Australia.

China’s vice foreign minister Xie Feng demanded to know “what right” Mr Morrison had to comment on the controversial security pact between China and the Solomon Islands.

“What right do these countries have to point fingers at China? What qualifications does Australia have to draw a ‘red line’ against the Solomon Islands … and China, which is thousands of miles away?” Mr Xie said during an online event.

He slammed the West’s concern as “colonialist myths” and claimed they amounted to “disinformation, defamation, coercion and intimidation”.

Mr Morrison said the deal, which was signed during week two of the election campaign, was a matter of concern for both Australia and its allies.

Beijing has today announced the launch of a “China-Pacific Island Countries Cooperation Centre on Climate Change”, to be based in Shandong.

Mr Morrison said today that Chinese influence was behind Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s recent criticism of the Australian government.

The deal between China and Solomon Islands is not the federal government’s fault, according to The Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan.
Mr Sogavare said he was blindsided by the announcement of the AUKUS security pact and accused Australia of failing to protect Chinese-built infrastructure during riots in the Solomons last year.

Mr Morrison responded that he spoke to Mr Sogavare the day after the announcement of the AUKUS pact and those concerns were not raised.

He blamed the shift in attitude to the controversial security pact recently signed between China and the Solomon Islands.

“Obviously, as time goes on, and new relationships are entered into, there’s obviously been some other influences in the perspective taken by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister,” he said. “There’s a remarkable similarities between those statements and those of the Chinese government.”

Mr Morrison said he has received assurances China will not be allowed to establish a naval base in the Solomon Islands.

‘THE SOLOMONS ARE A CHALLENGE’

Former prime minister John Howard has suggested the Solomon Islands’ leader’s resentment of Australia played a major role in the Pacific nation turning its back on Australia in signing a security deal with China.

The Opposition has blamed the Morrison government for failing to manage its diplomatic relationship in the Pacific but Mr Howard insists geopolitical strategies weren’t to blame.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was the leader of the Solomon Islands at the same time Mr Howard led Australia.

“I mean, sure, the Solomon Islands are a challenge,” Mr Howard said on Thursday.

“And the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands … I know him, I’ve dealt with him a little and he doesn’t even like Australia very much.”

When asked why the two countries had a strained diplomatic relationship, Mr Howard simply replied: “Go and ask him, I don’t know”.

Former prime minister John Howard on the campaign trail with the MP for Ryan, Julian Simmonds, at Brookfield Gardens Nursery. Picture: Sarah Marshall

Former prime minister John Howard on the campaign trail with the MP for Ryan, Julian Simmonds, at Brookfield Gardens Nursery. Picture: Sarah Marshall

“I’m not saying I was an impeccable genius in handling things but I just make the point, once again, that it is a reminder of the challenges in our region,” Mr Howard added.

“The attitude of China has changed enormously and you need people in charge who can handle that.”

Opposition spokesperson for foreign affairs, Penny Wong, earlier this week criticised the government for the diplomatic bungle and questioned if the relationship had recovered from Peter Dutton’s infamous climate change quip from 2015 about Pacific nations having “water lapping at your door”.

But Mr Dutton, who now holds the defence portfolio, insisted “we have an exceptional relationship with the Solomon Islands”.

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