onsdag 25. mai 2022

Solomon Islands journalists shut out of China foreign minister visit, raising secrecy concerns

Pacific journalists have raised serious concerns about secrecy surrounding the upcoming marathon tour of the Pacific by China’s foreign minister, who will be visiting eight countries in 10 days. Wang Yi will visit Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Fiji between 26 May and 4 June, on a tour of the region that has been labelled “extraordinary and unprecedented” by Pacific experts.

It comes at a time that China’s engagement in the region has seen an “uptick in tempo”, as it looks to cement relationships and sign economic, infrastructure and security deals. Wang Yi’s first stop is expected to be Solomon Islands on Thursday, where he will build on an alliance which has been in the international spotlight in the last few months after the draft of a security deal signed by the two governments was leaked. Solomon Islands government has confirmed to the Guardian that “a number of MOUs” will be signed during the visit, which will be announced on Thursday evening.