‘Expanding Chinese influence’ in Pacific will ‘not be in Australia’s national interest’

Liberal Senator James Paterson says it is of concern the Chinese government “appears to be trying to expand its influence” and potentially its military presence in the region.

A draft security cooperation agreement between China and the Solomon Islands which would enable greater Chinese involvement in the Pacific Islands region was recently leaked online.

“If it’s successful in doing so, make no mistake, it will not be in our national interest, it will be to the detriment of our national interest,” Mr Paterson told Sky News host Chris Smith.

“This has been very closely monitored in Canberra, we’re doing everything we can in our power while respecting the sovereignty and independence of the Solomon Islands to make decisions in their own national interest.”

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