China looking to 'extend influence' into the South Pacific
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi embarked on an eight-nation tour of the Pacific where he will first shore up a defence pact with the Solomon Islands before trying to “rope 10 Pacific islands into a security deal”, Sky News’ Chris Kenny said. He described the tour as an “extraordinarily symbolic and proactive act of diplomacy” as tensions remain high between China and its larger Pacific neighbours, as well as the US.
Mr Kenny said: “Back now to the new Labour Government and China’s deliberate strategic incursion in the South Pacific.
“It got kind of real today with the arrival of China’s foreign minister in Honiara as he looks to cement Beijing’s ties with the Solomon Islands before continuing his Pacific tour, which will take him to Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and even East Timor.
“This is an extraordinarily symbolic and proactive act of diplomacy with China looking to rope 10 Pacific nations into a security deal.
“And our new Prime Minister is under no misapprehension about what all this means.”
Anthony Albanese said: “We’ve known that China is seeking to extend its influence in the region.
“During the election campaign, the Solomon Islands deal was, of course, front and centre.
“But we know from China’s perspective that that’s just the first of a range of deals that they want to exercise.”
Mr Albanese was speaking after the Quad Summit in Tokyo, during which himself, US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida discussed the threat of China and economic unity, among other considerations.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi met with the Solomon Islands acting governor-general Oti in the country’s capital of Honiara today to discuss “mutually beneficial cooperation” between the nations.
According to a Chinese foreign ministry statement, Wang said: “We hope the relationship between China and the Solomon Islands will later become a high ground of mutually beneficial cooperation and a model of mutual trust between China and the island countries.”
Mr Wang is set to meet a host of Pacific foreign ministers in Fiji next week to seek agreement on a five-year Pacific islands action plan.
But a draft communique circulated by China to the Pacific islands ahead of the 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”.
China meets UN top human rights official as Xinjiang probe begins [REPORT]
Joe Biden gaffe explained: Has Joe Biden changed US policy on Taiwan? [INSIGHT]
Biden ready to deploy US troops to Taiwan if China attempts invasion [REVEAL]
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 Pacific.
It is one of a series of events that appear to have escalated tensions between China and its pacific neighbours in Japan, South Korea, and Australia, as well as with the US.
Japan and South Korea both scrambled fighter jets earlier this week after a joint Russian-Chinese aerial military patrol threatened to cross into their airspace.
Australia, meanwhile, accelerated its long-range missile programme over fears that China could build a military base on the Solomon Islands, which is just over 1,000 miles from their coastline.
Source: Read Full Article