China has called on Australia to drop their 'Cold War attitude' to its growing role in the Pacific Islands and recognise that no one country has a "sphere of influence" in the region.
Commenting on plans by the Australian government to help Papua New Guinea build a navy base, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said China was pursuing "wide-ranging friendly and co-operative ties with the Pacific Island countries".
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Pacific Islands are like "family", saying he wants to strengthen his country's engagement in the region because this is their home.
However, the Australian newspaper reports Mr Lu rejects the argument that it does not have a legitimate role in the region.
He said China hoped that the relevant parties can discard outdated mindsets of Cold War mentality and zero sum game and objectively view China's relations with Pacific countries.
Mr Lu said China's increasing ties with PNG and the Pacific Islands were based on its approach of promoting South-South co-operation and were not aimed at targeting any "third party".
He said China's goal was to "help the Pacific Island countries realise peace, stability and prosperity".