Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday said China has “no intention at all” to build a military base in the Solomon Islands, where he began a 10-day tour of Pacific nations.
Australia's former government had said that any move to create a Chinese military base would amount to crossing a "red line", without specifying the consequences.
But Wang countered: "China's cooperation with Pacific island countries does not target any country and should not be interfered or disrupted by any other country."
Wang also expressed the hope that relations between China and the Solomons can be a model for Beijing's cooperation with Pacific island nations.
He noted Beijing will help the country improve its living standards and development, adding the Solomon Islands gained a "sincere and reliable partner" when it established diplomatic relations with China in 2019.
China will seek a region-wide deal with almost a dozen Pacific island countries covering policing, security and data communication cooperation when Wang attends a meeting in Fiji next week, documents seen by Reuters showed.
Australia is trying to counter Wang's mission by sending its own Foreign Minister to Fiji to try to shore up regional support.
Penny Wong told the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva that Australia believes in "true partnerships".
“Australia will be a partner that doesn't come with strings attached nor imposing unsustainable financial burdens. We're a partner that won't erode Pacific priorities or Pacific institutions.
“We believe in transparency. We believe in true partnerships.”
The Solomon Islands government said in a statement Wang would sign a number of cooperation agreements between the two countries in a two-day visit. (Agencies)
Last updated: 2022-05-26 HKT 21:20