tirsdag 31. mai 2022

China’s foreign minister tells Pacific leaders ‘don’t be too anxious’ after they reject regional security pact

Pacific countries have declined to sign up to a sweeping regional economic and security deal proposed by China, after a crucial meeting of Pacific foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart on Monday. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi is in the middle of a marathon tour of the region, visiting eight countries in 10 days, a trip that security experts have said represents a dramatic “uptick in tempo” of China’s push for influence in the region.

On Monday, Wang held a virtual summit in Fiji with foreign ministers from Pacific countries at which the region-wide deal was discussed. Several invited nations want to defer action on the draft communique or have it amended, an official from one Pacific country told Reuters. Wang urged the Pacific region not to be “too anxious” about his country’s aims after the meeting was unable to agree on the pact.

The deal, which was leaked last week, covers everything from a free trade area with the region to providing humanitarian and Covid relief. It also lays out China’s vision for a much closer relationship with the Pacific, especially on security matters, with China proposing it would be involved in training police, cybersecurity, sensitive marine mapping and gaining greater access to natural resources.