Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would be a "red line” for his government, as he attempts to deflect criticism he did not move quickly enough to avoid a security agreement between Honiara and Beijing.

Speaking at a news conference on Sunday in Darwin, Morrison said his determination to avoid a naval base in the Solomon Islands was shared not just by the U.S. but by the Pacific nation’s Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

Morrison said Sogavare had assured him personally there would be no military base in the Solomons. "This is a shared concern, not just Australia. This is Australia with regional governments,” he said.