Revealing China’s “game-changing” plan in the Pacific
China has sent a draft joint communiqué and a five-year action plan to 10 islands in China Pacific ahead of a meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Fiji on May 30.
The draft of the agreement that the news agency AP It has been shown that China wants to train intermediate and senior police officers for Pacific island nations in a bilateral and multilateral manner, to cooperate “in the traditional and non-traditional security fields” and to open expand law enforcement cooperation.
The draft from China also mentions commitments to cooperate on network data, cybersecurity, intelligent customs data systems as well as for Pacific islands to have a balanced approach to technological progress, development and development. economic development and national security.
China also wants to jointly develop a plan for fisheries, including tuna fishing in the Pacific. In addition, Beijing mentioned the possibility of setting up a free trade area with Pacific countries, helping countries fight climate change.
People cross the street near a sign welcoming the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, November 15, 2018. Photo: AP
Of the countries invited by Beijing to the meeting, at least one country (believed to be the Federated States of Micronesia) opposed the draft joint statement, fearing it represented an intention to “control and threaten regional stability”. ” of China.
According to the news agency APMicronesian Federal President David Panuelo sent a letter to 21 Pacific leaders, saying his country would oppose China’s proposal out of concern it could increase geopolitical tensions and threaten regional stability.
One of Panuelo’s concerns is that the deal initially allows China to own and control the fishing and communications infrastructure in the region.
President Panuelo declined to comment on the letter or the proposed deal. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on May 25 that he did not know about the letter from President Panuelo.
Ship in Honiara, Solomon – the country recently signed a security treaty with China. Photo: AP
US State Department spokesman Ned Price on May 25 also expressed concern about China’s intentions.
“We are concerned about deals being negotiated in a hurry and not being clear,” Mr. Ned Price told reporters. He warned that China could offer “vague, lack of transparency” agreements or consultations in areas related to security, fishing, and resource management.
The deals, which include sending Chinese security officials to the Pacific island nation, “could spark tension in the region and raise concerns that Beijing is expanding its security apparatus,” Price noted. its internals to the Pacific”.
China’s foreign minister will visit eight Pacific island countries with which Beijing has diplomatic relations, from May 26 to June 4. On May 26, Wang will travel to the Solomon Islands, which recently signed a security treaty with China, despite objections from the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The treaty has raised concerns that China could send troops to the island nation and even set up a military base there, not far from Australia.
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