Sydney, Australia, May 29 (EFE).- China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will participate in a meeting of foreign ministers of Pacific Island nations to boost security ties with the regional countries, the Fijian government said on Sunday, amid global concerns about Beijing’s expanding military and financial ambitions in the region.
Wang arrived in Fiji on Saturday to meet Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and participate in the second meeting between foreign ministers of China and Pacific Island nations, the Fijian government reported on its Facebook page.
He will be in Fiji until Tuesday before moving to Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor, which is in Southeast Asia.
Wang’s 10-day, eight-nation tour of the Pacific will conclude Friday.
He began the trip on Wednesday and sparked concerns in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, which until now exerted greater influence over the regional countries.
According to documents leaked by several media this week, China is pursuing a multilateral cooperation agreement with the Pacific Island countries for the next five years, which includes access to maritime and fishing resources and the possible deployment of Chinese security forces.
Australia and the United States, which have launched their own campaigns to strengthen their influence in the Pacific, have warned against the rise of the Chinese hegemony.
Micronesia has even said that Beijing’s plans could trigger a new cold war.
In response, China has stressed that it has never interfered in the internal affairs of the Pacific Island nations.
“The aid and assistance from China have never left any island country mired in debt or security threat. China believes that the South Pacific has never been and should not be the battlefield for geopolitical maneuvering,” the Chinese embassy in Australia said in a statement Thursday.
Wang has already visited the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Samoa.
China has signed a slew of agreements with Kiribati and Samoa.
These include cooperation in development, infrastructure, natural disasters, and climate change.
China signed a controversial security pact with the Solomon Islands in April.
The agreement has given rise to fears that Beijing could establish military bases on the island. China and the Solomon Islands have denied it. EFE