| Global Times
BEIJING – China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said that any attempt to attack or smear China - Papua New Guinea relations or drive a wedge between the two countries is futile.
Zhao made the remarks in response to a misleading Australian media report claiming the upgrading of PNG's main naval base helps to counter China's challenge in the region.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported last week that an Australian company has been awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to redevelop the naval base on Manus Island.
The report cited the head of PNG's Defence Force, Major General Gilbert Toropo, as saying the upgrade would significantly improve PNG's maritime security capabilities.
"China's growing presence in the region presented 'a challenge' for PNG," Toropo was quoted as saying.
Zhao pointed out that the foreign ministry had noticed clarifying statements made by PNG prime minister James Marape and Toropo in the PNG mainstream.
"This is not the first time that the relevant Australian media has hyped up the so-called [China-threat theory] by tricks of garbling quote out of context and misinterpreting and that it may not be the last time the media do this," Zhao said.
Some media were keen to create topics out of nothing, stir up anti-China sentiment and sow discord between China and other countries out of their own shameful political motives, Zhao said.
China and PNG enjoy profound traditional friendship and any attempt to attack or smear their ties or drive a wedge between China and PNG will be futile, he said.
Marape has refuted statements in the Australian media purportedly by Toropo that the growing Chinese presence was a challenge to PNG’s security.
"I do not perceive China as a security threat, but rather as an important development, investment and trade partner with shared values conducted under mutual friendship and understanding," Marape.