Wang YiChinese foreign minister, began a tour of the South Pacific islands on Thursday, an area in which he seeks expand your influence in all areas, but in some more than in others.
Specifically, the axis on which he tries to pivot his power is none other than security, an objective that arouses concern in neighboring Australia and other countries involved.
According to a document to which various media have had access, China will propose to a dozen South Pacific nations a five-year action plan to, among many other issues, cooperate in “traditional and non-traditional security issues”.
10 days to seduce
This is the background against which Wang made his first stop on Thursday in Solomon Islandsthe start of a ten-day tour that will also take him to Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea y Timor Oriental.
The Solomon Islands are precisely the only country in the area with which China has already signed a controversial security dealwhich was made public a little over a month ago and which opens the door to sending Chinese security forces to the island country.
Wang assured during the visit that China ‘strongly supports the Solomon Islands’ in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry published today, which did not mention the pact.
“The Chinese side is committed to working with the Solomon Islands to implement the consensus reached between the leaders of both countries,” the statement stressed.
Chinese military bases
Wang’s visit to the Solomons, where Australia and its partner, the United States, fear that Beijing will establish a military base by virtue of the pact, elapse with the same level of secrecy with which this agreement was negotiated and those that in principle are in the pipeline.
In this line, it blocked access to the events of the visit to journalists accredited for international media, while those who are allowed entry barely have room to ask questions, according to the newspaper The Guardian.
A trend that in principle will be maintained during the rest of Wang’s ten-day tour, who travels accompanied by a high-level delegationespecially after the latest leaks about the chancellor’s alleged plans in the area.
While an exclusive of the Financial Times He anticipated over the weekend that China would sign security agreements similar to that of the Solomons with Kiribati and other countries, shortly before the trip Anglo-Saxon media, including the Australian agency AAPrevealed the ambitious multisectoral agreement that Beijing seeks sign with these countries, with a special focus on security.
According to the aforementioned document to which said media had access, China would seek to train local policeas well as more access to natural and marine resources of the zone, opening the door to the possibility of establishing a free trade zone with these nations.
An alleged plan that has tightened the rope even more with Australiaa traditional security ally of these countries, whose newly appointed prime minister, Anthony Albanesestated today that “answer to” to China’s moves to increase its influence in the Pacific.
Your foreign minister, Penny Wongis now in Fiji, from where he urged the South Pacific islands to “consider where they would like to be in three or ten years”when deciding whether or not to join the pact with China.
new cold war
More vehemently expressed was the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, David Handkerchiefwho in a letter to the 21 leaders of the island region warned them that China’s plans threaten stability in the area and could be the trigger for a “new cold war” between Beijing and the West.
Micronesia will be one of the participants in one of the central points of Wang’s tour, a virtual meeting on Monday between the Chinese foreign minister and the foreign ministers of that country, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati , Vanuatu, the Cook Islands and Niue, where the deal is expected to be discussed.
Panuelo urged his neighbors to meditate on what the “biggest game changer in the Pacific of our lifetimes” and warned that Chinese expansion “increases the chances of China coming into conflict with Australia, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand.”
Given China’s latest moves in the area, last Tuesday the United States and its quad partners (USA, Japan, Australia and India) pledged to strengthen their cooperation with the Pacific island countries and announced a aid package of 50,000 million dollars in infrastructure projects.