A senior minister has questioned the timing of Beijing’s security pact with the Solomon Islands
Australia’s home affairs minister has accused China of attempting to interfere in an election set for next month, saying a recent security deal with nearby Pacific nation suggested nefarious motives.
Karen Andrews stated that Australians need to be listened to on Wednesday in comments she made to a Brisbane station radio. “taking notice of and paying some attention to” China’s pact with the Solomon Islands, announced last week.
“Beijing is clearly very aware that we’re in a federal election campaign here at the moment. Why are we here? Why, right in the middle of a federal election campaign is all this coming to light?”She asked and added “We talk about political interference and that has many forms.”
While it’s unclear exactly what impact the China-Solomons deal would have on the May 21 federal election, the ruling Liberal Party has argued that Beijing is hoping to see victory for the opposition Labor Party, as the center-left faction takes up an increasingly hawkish line toward Beijing.
Labor released a variety of policy suggestions earlier in the week. These included calls for soldiers to be trained in Pacific countries as well as double security expenditures in the region. Penny Wong was the party spokesperson and blasted Scott Morrison as a weak opponent of China when he unveiled the platform. “on Mr. Morrison’s watch”While warning about “the prospect of a Chinese base less than 2,000 kilometers from Australia’s coastline.”
Senior Labor lawmaker Jim Chalmers was dismissive of Andrews’ remarks, saying that, even by the “incredibly low standards of this government,”Her criticism “was remarkably desperate and remarkably unhinged,” adding that instead of the Chinese Communist Party, “the Australian people will determine who wins” next month’s election.
Andrews also claimed, much like the Labor spokesperson, that Beijing plans to construct a military base in the Solomons. Wang Wenbin (Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson) refuted this claim on Wednesday.
“Some Australian politicians are used to seeking their own political gains by making denigrating remarks against China, and the international community has seen enough of this,”He told reporters. “Such statements cannot fool the international community or the Australian people.”
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