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International relations

Chinese owner of Australia's Darwin Port rejects security worry

Landbridge executive insists 99-year lease 'purely commercial'

Landbridge Group executive Vincent Lai warned the company will demand compensation if Australia cancels its lease over Darwin Port.    © Reuters

HONG KONG -- The Chinese operator of the Australian port of Darwin on Wednesday defended the company's investment as "purely commercial," rejecting security concerns that spurred Canberra this month to launch a review of its 99-year lease.

The lease deal, worth 506 million Australian dollars ($392.44 million), has come under focus amid a drastic cooling of relations between Beijing and Canberra. The U.S. military uses a naval base close to the port and Washington has complained about the Chinese presence since Australia's Northern Territory signed the lease with Landbridge Group in 2015.

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