China timed Solomon Islands security pact to hurt Coalition’s chances

China timed Solomon Islands security pact to hurt Coalition’s chances

A senior federal government frontbencher believes that China timed the announcement of its security pact with Solomon Islands to hurt the Coalition's chances at the federal election, suggesting it could be an act of political interference by Beijing.

Australian officials fear that the agreement could allow China to establish a military presence in the Pacific Island country, and the news that it had been signed sent shock waves through the federal election campaign last week.

Labor has accused the government of a serious foreign policy blunder while some senior ministers have suggested that China may have used bribery to secure the pact, as well as to try and undermine the Coalition's national security credentials.

Karen Andrews, Home Affairs Minister, said she believed it was very likely that China would send troops to the Solomon Islands.

She told Brisbane radio station 4 BC that the timing of the announcement could have been deliberate, and that Beijing was clearly aware we are in a federal election campaign at the moment, and that we should pay attention to timing of deals in relation to Solomon Islands.

Labor has scoffed at the suggestion, with Shadow Defence Minister Brendan O'Connor saying that Ms Andrews is so out of depth in her security portfolio she's embarking on flights of conspiratorial fantasy. The government won't accept that they have presided over one of the worst policy failures in the Pacific since WWII. He wrote on Twitter when you mess up, fess up.