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Taiwan warns Australia of threat at its ‘doorstep’ — RT World News

China’s growing influence should be a major concern for Canberra, Taiwan’s top diplomat says

A senior Taiwanese official has urged Australia and others “like-minded” countries to be wary of Chinese military ambitions in the Indo-Pacific, citing a recent security pact signed with the Solomon Islands and Beijing’s alleged rampant “authoritarianism” In the region.

Speaking in an interview with Australia’s SBS News on Friday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said China has extended its influence in Canberra’s sphere of interest, calling on local officials to devote more of energy to the alleged threat.

“Like-minded countries like the United States, Australia and Japan should pay more attention to Chinese military activities in the Pacific,” he said. “It’s right on your doorstep and I’m sure any Chinese military presence in the Solomon Islands is going to be your big concern.”

Wu’s comments come shortly after Beijing signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, a Pacific nation about 1,000 miles (1,700 km) off Australia’s northeast coast. Canberra officials condemned the move, saying China wanted to use the deal to establish a military presence in the region.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said that a Chinese military base in the Solomons would be a “Red line,” although it was later clarified that Australia would be content “to work with partners to ensure that this type of outcome would be avoided.” He did not specify exactly how this would be achieved, however, saying he would “careless” speculate on what action Australia and its allies might take.

When asked whether Australia’s efforts to prevent the security agreement had been a “failure,” Wu replied in the negative, saying that “The Chinese army has yet to show up in the Solomon Islands.”

“But the military presence, if that becomes a reality…I’m sure it will be a very serious security issue for the Australian government,” he added. added the Taiwanese diplomat, warning that China would continue to “extend its influence in the Pacific.”

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Beijing has repeatedly denied any intention to build a base on the Solomons, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian calling the claim a “rumor” and “pure misinformation” also arguing that the agreement with the islands is “is open, transparent and does not target any third party.”

Wu said he would like Taiwan “work closer” with partners in the region to counter China – which considers the island part of its sovereign territory – but declined to say whether Taipei would directly request Australian military aid, saying only that the Taiwanese are “determined to defend ourselves.” Still, he expressed hope that Canberra could help “to prevent a crisis from occurring” – apparently referring to a possible Chinese incursion – and that “If there is a need for further assistance, Australian support to Taiwan will be appreciated.”

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