China has a strategy to help Pacific Island nations with policing, not defense, and its growing presence in the region should not alarm Australia, China's ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Xiao Qian also told reporters that Nauru's decision this week to form diplomatic relations with China at the expense of Taiwan was "their own choice" and would not impact Australia's ties with Nauru, a tiny nation of 12,500 that uses the Australian currency.

Pacific neighbors Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing in 2019, with Solomon Islands later striking security and policing pacts with China that sparked alarm in Canberra and Washington.