Home Regional embassy China holds political dialogue with Pacific on day of regional leaders’ meeting

China holds political dialogue with Pacific on day of regional leaders’ meeting

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The Chinese flag is seen in this illustration taken May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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SUVA, July 15 (Reuters) – China held a separate political dialogue with Pacific island countries on the same day as leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum met and agreed to resolve security issues within ” family,” highlighting the growing geopolitical competition in the region.

The Chinese embassy in Suva, the capital of Fiji, tweeted a photo of the event, organized by the international department of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. Participants attended the meeting in person or via video link, and the embassy noted that Fiji’s Minister of Defense attended via video.

Reuters reported last month that China had proposed a meeting to coincide with the Pacific Islands Forum, which includes Australia and New Zealand. China is not a member of the forum and was not invited, but is one of 20 dialogue partners which also includes the United States.

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Beijing’s quest to strengthen security ties in the region has raised concerns among US allies. Read more

The Chinese meeting was held on July 14, the same day a dozen Pacific Islands Forum leaders met and agreed on a statement, and a day after US Vice President Kamala Harris s’ is addressed to the forum by video and has pledged to triple the aid. Read more

Western diplomats in Suva said it was unknown if there were any results from the Chinese meeting.

The state-owned China Daily said it was a meeting of political parties, addressed by the new minister of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department, Liu Jianchao.

The Minister of Justice of Tonga, the Ministers of Finance of Niue and Vanuatu, as well as representatives of Papua New Guinea and the Federated States of Micronesia were among the attendees, the Chinese Embassy’s tweet said. .

The China Daily reported that the chairman of a Solomon Islands political party, who is also a senior resource official, said that “his party and his country would like to strengthen cooperation with the CCP and China to accelerate development and national rejuvenation”.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna told reporters after the forum leaders’ meeting that an earlier approach by China, when it asked 10 of the forum’s 18 members to endorse a deal of security and trade prepared in advance, had been rejected by the leaders of the forum. Read more

The forum’s largest members, Australia and New Zealand, as well as several countries with ties to Taiwan and France, were excluded from the Chinese proposal.

An as-yet-unpublished statement from the forum says the leaders agree to consult and adopt a “family approach to peace and security”.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Mannaseh Sogavare assured his Australian counterpart at the forum that there would be no Chinese military base in his country, despite a new security pact with Beijing, and that Australia remained their security partner of choice.

Kiribati, which split from the forum this week, was represented at the Chinese meeting by its ambassador in Beijing.

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Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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