22 Aug 2019

China hits out at Australia over its Pacific approach

4:53 pm on 22 August 2019

Beijing has condemned Australia and accused it of acting like a condescending master towards Pacific countries, insulting climate-vulnerable nations and "spreading the China threat fallacy".

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 5: Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang delivers a speech during a press conference in Beijing, China on January 5, 2018.
 Fuat Kabakci / Anadolu Agency

Photo: AFP

China's foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Pacific island leaders did not share Australia's fear of Chinese influence in the region.

Mr Geng was asked by the Guardian newspaper to comment on an interview by Fiji's prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, after last week's Pacific Islands Forum.

Mr Bainimarama had said Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison was insulting and condescending.

Speaking in Beijing, Geng said Mr Bainimarama's comments were "not the first time that leaders of Pacific island countries resented Australia's behaviour".

He said China had been providing assistance to island countries "with no political strings attached" and without insults.

Geng also said China was not competing with Australia in the region.

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