Australia accuses China of paying bribes for international deals, especially in Africa

Australia accuses China of paying bribes for international deals, especially in Africa

Does China pay bribes to win international deals? After the recent signing of a security agreement between Beijing and the Solomon Islands, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday, while declining to say whether corruption played a role in the agreement signed between China and Solomon Islands which does not worry. Only Cambera but also Washington.

“The Chinese don’t follow our rules,” Peter Dutton told Sky News Australia.

This is the reality of modern China.

“If you look at what happened in Africa, there are corrupt payments that have been made,” he continued. “We will not be able to compete with this kind of practice. We have values ​​and the rule of law and we respect them (…) The truth is that China has changed,” the minister added. “China’s incredibly aggressive behavior toward foreign interference, its willingness to pay bribes to get other countries to sign deals: this is the reality of modern China.”

Asked whether or not he believed China had done the same with the Solomon Islands, which last week announced a vague security agreement with Beijing, Peter Dutton declined to comment. This agreement revived the concerns of Australia, a neighbor and ally of the archipelago, as well as those of the United States.

Permanent Chinese military presence?

Canberra and Washington have long worried that China could build a naval base in the South Pacific that would allow it to project its naval power beyond its borders. The United States warned that if Beijing moved toward “establishing a de facto permanent military presence,” a “military facility” or “force projection capabilities” that would allow a Chinese deployment in the region, this would cause “serious concern” in the The United States, which “(will retaliate) accordingly.” The Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavari, has repeatedly stressed that there will be no Chinese military base in his country, without convincing the United States, which has warned that it will “retaliate accordingly” if he does not fulfill this promise.

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A leaked copy of the agreement last month sent shockwaves through Australia and the United States, as it included proposals to allow Chinese police and navy deployments to the Solomon Islands. Since then, they have redoubled their diplomatic efforts against this rapprochement.

France concerned

without result. France also considered this agreement “disturbing” and worried about “Chinese ambitions” in the Asia-Pacific region. New Caledonia, a French territory, is located 500 kilometers south of the coast closest to the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands were shaken at the end of 2021 by deadly riots fueled by the resentment of part of the population against the growing influence of China. Chinese-owned businesses were vandalized and burned in Honiara. Since then, Beijing, which has sent police trainers and riot-control equipment, has sought to bolster the archipelago’s protection system. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said China is putting “tremendous pressure” on island leaders. For its part, the communist power criticized the “irresponsible statements”. Australia was one of the players in the region to deploy peacekeepers to the Solomon Islands last year, at the request of the government.

(with AFP)