Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hoped that in order to win the general elections on May 21 he could use the country's fraught relations with China, but it backfired after the Solomon Islands signed a security pact with China.
Soloman Islands and China last month signed the framework agreement on security cooperation that Australia, the US and other allies fear could be used to establish a military base in the Pacific island nation.
In the second week of Australia's six-week election campaign, the news of the contentious Solomon Islands security deal with China came and Morrison's plans to use its relationship with China to win votes fell flat.
Since early this year, Morrison and his ministers have tried to paint their Labour opponents as soft on China. Morrison's Liberal-National government said that the opposition party was unable to defend Australia's interests in the bitter quarrels that have arisen over the past five years between Canberra and Beijing, reported Straits Times.
Australian Foreign Minister met her Solomon Islands counterpart and raised deep concerns over the security arrangement between China and the island nation.
Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne in a statement said, "Australia has been consistent and clear in stating our respect for Solomon Islands' sovereign decision-making, however, we have reiterated our deep concerns about the security agreement with China, including the lack of transparency."
After details of the draft pact were released, Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific Zed Seselja flew to the Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara, on April 12, to unsuccessfully ask the government to abandon it.
Despite repeated denial from China over plans to militarise the Solomon Islands, the security experts remain wary of Beijing's intentions. (ANI)