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China holds a Pacific Islands meeting in Fiji, with a focus on security relationships

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with counterparts from ten Pacific island nations in ...




Image: Reuters


Berita 24 English - On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with counterparts from ten Pacific island nations in Fiji, midway through a diplomatic trip of the area, where China's goals for stronger security ties have alarmed US allies.

The meeting, organized by Wang, is attended by Pacific island states with diplomatic links to China. Wang met with Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama earlier in the day.

China delivered a draft communique and five-year action plan to the invited countries, including Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Niue, and Vanuatu, before of the meeting, indicating that Beijing wanted a broad regional trade and security deal.

According to a letter leaked last week, the draft declaration sparked objections from at least one of the invited states, the Federated States of Micronesia.

Because of the COVID pandemic, the region's borders are closed, so most foreign ministers are attending the Fiji summit via video link. The foreign minister is also the prime minister in a number of Pacific countries.

Several invited countries want to postpone action on the statement or have it altered, according to a Reuters source in the Pacific.

According to comments published by the governments and China, some Pacific islands have recently signed up to some of the particular security components that China is seeking in the regional agreement.

According to a statement released by Samoa, an agreement has been reached for a police fingerprint laboratory to complement a China-funded police training academy.

The US, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand have raised worry about a security pact struck by the Solomon Islands and China last month, claiming that it has regional implications and could lead to a Chinese military deployment near Australia.

To counter Beijing's effort, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's new Australian government has made the Pacific islands a top foreign policy priority, launching a defence training school, support for maritime security, increased funding, and re-engaging the area on climate change.

Last week in Honiara, Wang denounced the deal's involvement and said the Solomon Islands' relationship with China served as a model for other Pacific island states




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