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Defence Minister Peter Dutton has raised the prospect of China paying bribes to Pacific island nations, saying the big nation has modified its method lately.

Speaking to Sky News earlier this morning, Dutton stated if China’s just lately struck safety take care of Solomon Islands had occurred in isolation, “that would be bad enough” – however China seems to be following a sample.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“They’ve got a port in Sri Lanka, where they’ve taken that port back because the Sri Lankans couldn’t pay for the debt that they’d incurred from the Chinese in building that port,” the Defence Minister stated.

“If you look at what’s happened in Africa, there are corrupt payments being made – we could never compete with that sort of playbook.”

Asked if corrupt funds had been made within the Solomons case, Dutton stated: “It’s not something that I can comment on.”

However, the Defence Minister stated the fact was China had modified lately.

“I see intelligence and there’s a lot of work that we, as a national security committee, have done on this issue for a long time to look at ways in which we can, frankly, prevent this situation from happening. Because we don’t want any military presence from the Chinese only 1800-2000 kilometres of our coastline.

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“China’s incredibly aggressive – the acts of foreign interference, the preparedness to pay bribes to get outcomes, and to beat other countries to deals – that’s the reality of the modern China.”

Nevertheless, Dutton insisted the federal government’s relationship with the Solomons stays robust and Australia continues to be the nation’s associate of selection.

Labor’s overseas affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong wasn’t so certain.

“As much as the government wants to create fights, make accusations, say this would have happened anyway, what I’d say is this: on their watch, this has happened,” she informed Sky.

“We are no longer the first partner of choice for a Pacific island nation and that is to the detriment of Australia’s position in our region.”



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