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China’s building of military base in Solomon ‘fake news’ by Australia: Beijing

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin

Beijing says China’s building a military base in the Solomon Islands is ‘fake news’ made up by Australia, and that such attempts are aimed at undermining relationships between countries.

China and the Solomon Islands, a tiny island chain in the South Pacific, reached a security deal quite recently.

The United States and its allies - Australia, Japan and New Zealand - fear that the pact could boost Beijing’s military power in the strategically important region. They issued a joint statement on Wednesday, alleging that the security deal poses “serious risks to a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Furthermore, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Defense Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday claimed that China was building a military base in the Solomon Islands, a nation of 700,000 people. The pair also said that building such a base would be the “red line” for Canberra and Washington.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin rebuked Morrison and Dutton for deliberately twisting the security cooperation between China and the Solomon Islands.

“China building a military base in Solomon is fake news made up by people with ulterior motives. I have noticed that the United States and Australia have accused the security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands of lacking transparency, but the US-UK-Australia Trilateral Security Partnership Agreement (AUKUS) is an undisclosed and opaque black-box operation. When will the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia intend to hand over AUKUS to regional countries, including the South Pacific island countries, for deliberation?” said Wang.

“We regret that the relevant Australian politicians stick to the Cold War mentality, spread rumors and slander China, trying to undermine the friendly relations between China and other countries. We firmly oppose this. Australian politicians should honestly face the concerns of the people at home and abroad, and should not spread false information to smear China for political self-interest,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.

Wang also denounced Washington for hypocrisy, saying the US has built nearly 800 military bases in more than 80 countries and regions around the world, a policy that has already caused major concerns around the world.

“When does the United States plan to close these military bases? The South Pacific Island countries are independent sovereign countries, not the backyard of the United States and Australia. Trying to replicate the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific region is unpopular and will not work at all,” the Chinese official further said.

Under AUKUS, the US, the UK and Australia have agreed to enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing and foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains.

The partnership agreement has been viewed as an effort to counter China, which called it “extremely irresponsible.” The AUKUS alliance has also sparked concern in other parts of the world, with many countries warning that the trilateral pact could lead to a situation very similar to the US-Russian arms race during the Cold War.

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