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China slates Australia over its take on Solomons security pact

China called on Australian politicians to refrain from “inverting black and white” over Beijing’s security pact with the Solomon Islands.

“The sovereignty of the Solomon Islands is also sovereignty. Individual Australian politicians should stop inverting black and white, and being the thief that shouts to catch the thieves,” Chinese MFA Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, suggesting that the politicians, whom he did not name, should avoid covering up their misdeeds by shifting the blame.

Defending China’s security pact with the Solomon Islands, Mr Zhao had called it “open and transparent” on Wednesday, adding that it was made in the interest of the archipelago and wider South Pacific region.

But Australia’s stance on China is also driven by the internal political motives of political parties vying for electoral support ahead of the May 21 elections. Called for by Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in early April, the elections will have issues such as Chinese economic coercion, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic as the main axis of the political battle between Mr Morrison’s conservative coalition seeking a fourth three-year term and the opposition Labor Party.

PM Morrison has urged voters to stick with a government that delivered one of the lowest pandemic death tolls of any advanced economy rather than risk giving up power to the Labor.

“This election is a choice between a government that you know and that has been delivering and a Labor opposition that you don’t,” Mr Morrison said.

The Roy Morgan online and telephone survey carried out May 2-8 showed both Morrison’s Liberal party and the opposition Australian Labour Party (ALP) performing neck to neck with the former enjoying 34 percent support and the latter 35.5 percent.

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