No consensus among Pacific islands on Beijing’s offers — Analysis

Some of the nations raised concerns over geopolitical tensions with the US amid Beijing’s efforts to improve ties with the region

Beijing’s efforts to improve economic and security cooperation in the Pacific hit a roadblock after a summit with 10 Pacific island nations in Fiji on Monday failed to reach a consensus. Some of the invited nations have expressed concerns that China’s involvement in the region’s security could lead to geopolitical tensions with the US and its allies. 

The meeting came amid a diplomatic tour of the Pacific region by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, which included the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Niue and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The nations held a virtual summit in Fiji where they were set to reach a consensus on a number of wide-ranging deals that would have increased China’s involvement in the security, economy and politics of the region. While Samoa, Solomon Islands and Beijing had signed an agreement to closer cooperate the day prior, some island leaders expressed concern about certain elements of the proposal.

Wang declared that nations had reached agreement on five areas for cooperation after the meeting and said further talks were necessary to achieve more consensus. Security was not one of the topics he spoke about. They instead focused on economic recovery from the Covid epidemic and new centers that coordinate disaster mitigation and agriculture.

Wang reiterated that Beijing would continue to have in-depth talks and consults with the region in order to reach a greater consensus about cooperation. He also advised anyone concerned by China’s actions in the Pacific islands not to be. “too anxious,”This is a reference to Beijing’s support for developing countries all over the globe, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, over the past decades. 

“Don’t be too anxious and don’t be too nervous, because the common development and prosperity of China and all the other developing countries would only mean great harmony, greater justice and greater progress of the whole world,”He said.

China signs new deal with Pacific nation

Beijing provided a draft communique to the nations invited ahead of the summit. It included a plan for five years that covered cybersecurity, policing and marine mapping.

Some island countries opposed the draft. David Panuelo (president of Federated States of Micronesia) stated last week in a written statement that he wouldn’t endorse the plan. He warned that the proposal would create geopolitical tensions that could threaten regional stability and lead to instability. 

Panuelo had the idea “the single most game-changing proposed agreement in the Pacific in any of our lifetimes”And insisted it “threatens to bring a new Cold War era at best, and a World War at worst.” He argued that China’s offer was “disingenuous”Would you? “ensure Chinese influence in government”And “economic control”Key industries

The concerns of the Micronesian president have also been shared by the US and its allies in the region such as Australia, Japan and New Zealand, who have stated that China’s ambitions will only serve to fuel international tensions and that Beijing’s attempts to expand its military presence in the Pacific posed even more of a long-term threat than Russia.

“China is the only country with both the intent to reshape the international order – and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it,”On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the US added that “Beijing’s vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world’s progress over the past 75 years.”

Beijing responded to the accusation that the US spread disinformation and attempted to undermine its sovereignty. “contain and suppress China’s development and uphold US hegemony.”  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated on Friday that China strongly deplores and rejects Washington’s position and that Blinken’s speech “spreads false information, exaggerates the China threat, interferes in China’s internal affairs, and smears China’s domestic and foreign policies.”

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