A draft outline of Beijing’s proposals to the Pacific has been obtained by media outlets.
According to a draft document leaked to the press during the country’s top diplomat’s visit to the region, China plans to sign a series of significant economic and security agreements with a series of Pacific countries. The so-called proposals will come after Beijing signed a major deal with the Solomon Islands, which drew strong objections from Australia and the United States.
Dubbed a “Comprehensive development vision,” The document was obtained by AFP and The Guardian on Wednesday and offered Chinese assistance to 10 small island nations. In addition to the millions of dollars in aid, the proposals would give countries greater access to China’s vast markets and increase security cooperation, for example, allowing Beijing to train local police forces.
The leak coincides with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to several Pacific island countries this week, during which he is expected to discuss the draft proposals, according to AFP. The outlet noted that a decision on approving at least some of the proposals could be made during a meeting of regional foreign ministers in Fiji later this month.
Wang’s visit follows the signing of a bilateral security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands in April, which drew sharp criticism from the Australian government and some of its Western allies.
A newly elected Labor government in Canberra has promised “Take action” After China’s own presence in the Pacific became a major campaign issue during the recent race, Foreign Minister Penny Wong will travel to Fiji on Thursday to meet with the country’s prime minister. Wong had earlier blamed the Scott Morrison government for Beijing’s weakness, saying the deal with Solomon was overseen and made. “The possibility of a Chinese base less than 2,000 kilometers off the coast of Australia.” However, Chinese officials have repeatedly denied any plans for a military base on the islands.
Speaking after the report on the leaked draft, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese stressed his country “Must respond,” Promises to increase security and infrastructure spending in the Pacific region by 350 million (AU $ 500 million).
“It seeks to increase China’s influence in the region where Australia has been the preferred security partner since World War II.” He said.
Washington, which reacted negatively to the Solomon Pact, similarly warned countries against signing it. “Shady” In an agreement with Beijing, State Department spokesman Ned Price claimed that they “A quick, non-transparent process can lead to negotiations.”