Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

China, Australia vie for Pacific influence with duelling visits

World May 27, 2022 05:01AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi poses for a picture prior to meeting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy October 31, 2021. Tiziana Fabi/Pool via REUTERS

By Kirsty Needham

SYDNEY (Reuters) -China and Australia launched competing Pacific visits on Thursday, with China's foreign minister expressing hope that ties with the Solomon Islands can be a regional model, while his counterpart said Canberra will be a partner that doesn't come with strings attached.

Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong told the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) secretariat in Fiji that Canberra will listen to Pacific islands which had "led the global debate" on climate change.

She spoke as China's foreign minister arrived in the region seeking a sweeping 10-nation deal on security and trade that has further unnerved the United States and its Pacific allies.

In pointed remarks, Wong said the 50-year-old regional forum, of which Australia was a member, was the "heart of Pacific regionalism".

She said Australia had previously not respected Pacific nations' struggle with climate change and rising sea levels, and the new Labor government would do more, including financing climate infrastructure and offering migration and work pathways to Australia for Pacific citizens.

"The triple challenges of climate, COVID and strategic contest will challenge us in new ways. We understand that the security of any one Pacific family member rests on security for all," she said.

PIF secretary general Henry Puna welcomed the new Australian government's commitments, especially on climate change, saying it had "shaken the foundation" of Canberra's foreign policy direction for the Pacific.

"Australia will be a partner that won't come with strings attached, nor imposing unsustainable financial burdens," Wong added, a thinly veiled reference to China, which has been criticised over its aggressive lending to poorer countries.

CHINA'S 'MODEL' SOLOMONS DEAL

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Solomon Islands Acting Governor General Patteson Oti in Honiara at the start of an eight-nation tour. Wang will host a meeting of Pacific foreign ministers in Fiji next week to seek agreement on a five-year Pacific islands action plan.

"We hope the relationship between China and Solomon Islands will later become a high ground of mutually beneficial cooperation and a model of mutual trust between China and the island countries," Wang said, according to China's foreign ministry.

A draft communique circulated by China to Pacific islands ahead of the foreign ministers meeting in Fiji has prompted opposition from at least one of the invited nations, which says it showed China's intent to control the region and "threatens regional stability".

The Solomon Islands government said in a statement Wang would sign a number of cooperation agreements between the two countries in a two-day visit. The Chinese delegation of 44 includes vice ministers in foreign affairs, commerce, environment, and information officials.

The Solomon Islands recently signed a security pact with China despite objections from Australia, the United States, Japan and New Zealand, which fear it could give China a military foothold in the region.

China rejects this, saying the pact is focused on domestic policing and criticism by Western countries was interference in the Solomon Island's sovereign decision-making.

"China will, as always, firmly support the Solomon Islands in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and safeguarding domestic unity," Wang said during a meeting with his Solomon Islands counterpart.

The Chinese delegation travels to Kiribati on Friday, where Wang will stay only four hours for meetings and to sign agreements.

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said he would meet Wong on Friday, and Wang on Monday.

"I've been asked about Fiji's agenda. At all tables, what matters most is our people and our planet, as well as respect for international law," he wrote on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on Thursday.

China, Australia vie for Pacific influence with duelling visits
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email