Beijing has recently slammed Australia, saying that Canberra has an ‘ulterior motive,’ concerning Australia raising concerns over a leaked China-Solomon Islands security pact.
According to the South China Morning Post, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Honiara said in a statement on May 11, said, “Some people are indifferent to the real challenges and development needs of the Pacific island countries such as the Solomon Islands, but are keen to dictate the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the islands, obviously with ulterior motives.”
Last month, China and the Solomons confirmed they had signed a controversial security agreement. The leaked deal revealed that it would extend China’s military presence in the Pacific region. It also allows China to set up a military base less than 2,000 kilometers from Australia’s coast.
Beijing gave assurances that the pact would not target any third party. Speaking at a regular press conference on May 11, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian called claims that China plans to build a military base on the Solomon Islands “pure disinformation fabricated by a few individuals with ulterior motives.”
Significantly, the Australian newspaper on May 9 released a leaked four-page draft regarding the China-Solomons pact.
The draft states China and the Solomon islands will encourage businesses to conduct investment cooperation in the “blue economy.”
Those investments will include “port wharves, submarine optimal cable construction, shipbuilding, and ship repair and ocean transportation,” as well as “exploration and development of offshore oil, gas and mineral resources.”
On the same day, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that his country was very aware of the Chinese regime’s ambitions in the Pacific.