Australia warns China of ‘red line’ — Analysis
Scott Morrison said that Australia and the US would never allow China to establish a military base in the Solomon Islands.
Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, declared Sunday that any Chinese military base in Solomon Islands was unacceptable “red line,”It did not mention how Canberra would respond. Morrison’s government and the United States are scrambling to respond to a recently-signed security deal between the islands and Beijing, which they consider an “aggressive” move.
“Working together with our partners in New Zealand and of course the United States, I share the same red line that the United States has when it comes to these issues,”Morrison spoke. “We won’t be having Chinese military naval bases in our region on our doorstep.”
The Solomon Islands, a tiny archipelago located around 2,000km from the coast of Australia’s northeastern coast, made international headlines last week after it signed a security agreement with China. With the island nation reeling from violent protests last year, the deal – according to a leaked draft of the agreement – promises Chinese assistance in “maintaining social order” and allows China’s warships to dock at its ports.
Manasseh Sogavare, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister insists that this deal was required to increase security. “guided by our national interests.”China is not allowed to establish a military base at the islands as per the agreement, which he said last week. Beijing had also stated this.
Australia and its allies are afraid of the contrary. “The reality is that China has changed. China’s incredibly aggressive, the acts of foreign interference, the preparedness to pay bribes to get an outcome… that’s the reality of modern China,”Sky News interviewed Peter Dutton, the Australian Defence Minister on Sunday. Beijing has so far not responded to the allegations of corruption.
Jointly, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Australia and Japan declared the agreement posessible. “serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific,”White House and White House both warned of this “if steps are taken [by China] to establish a de facto permanent military presence, power-projection capabilities, or a military installation… the United States would then have significant concerns and respond accordingly.”
Morrison was right, however, that the US could respond to this threat in some way wasn’t clear.
Morrison is being criticized for not allowing the deal proceed, as Australians are set to vote next month in federal elections. He has tried to defend his actions, arguing that “we don’t go stomping around telling leaders in [the] Pacific islands what they should and shouldn’t do,” Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong of the Labor Party argued that foreign aid to the Solomons could have lured its government away from China’s influence.
“We wouldn’t have cut foreign and development assistance which is important to development and national security,”At a Sunday campaign event, she spoke. “We wouldn’t have cut bilateral aid by 28 per cent on average every year… and we wouldn’t have thumbed our nose at Pacific leaders when they told us at a forum that climate change was their number one national security issue.”
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