China’s BRI has had success among Pacific countries by providing them with sustainable economic development and helping to reduce poverty. Its success has been due to policy reforms aimed at improving debt sustainability and mitigating social and environmental risks. China has also effectively integrated the BRI with the task of tackling global warming.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 21 October 2021 chaired the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (via video link).
Foreign ministers and representatives from Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Samoa, as well as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, attended the meeting.
ECNS reported that Wang said “China will continue providing economic and technical assistance to island countries with no political conditions attached.”
On climate change cooperation, Wang said “China has decided to establish a cooperation center for China and Pacific Island countries on climate change, supports the island countries’ blue Pacific initiative, and will continue to fund the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.”
“A forum on fishery cooperation and development between China and Pacific Island countries will be held within the year, and a cooperation center on poverty reduction and development will be established to help the island countries accelerate their independent and sustainable development, he added.”
“China calls for an open, transparent and responsible manner to prudently deal with the disposal of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, and the discharge shall not be started until an agreement is reached with all stakeholders,” Wang said.
“China is willing to work with the island countries to jointly uphold the international non-proliferation regime with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as its cornerstone and the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone.”
‘External forces’ behind Solomon Islands unrest, as PM firmly defends developing ties with China
The Global Times reported on Nov 27, 2021:
China is closely following the developments in the Solomon Islands and condemns the violence, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday, noting that China is confident that the Solomon Islands’ government is capable of stabilizing the internal situation.
Riots in the Solomon Islands continued on Friday, and has affected Chinatown in the country. Chinese nationals there have suffered great loss with their shops smashed, burned and looted.
Zhao said there have been no reports of Chinese casualties so far. When asked whether China is considering sending troops and police to the Solomon Islands as Australia did, Zhao said he hasn’t heard of any request of this nature from the Solomon Islands government, and that he hopes relevant sides will respect the sovereignty of Solomon Islands.
The Secretary of the Solomon Islands Chinese Association, surnamed Tan, told the Global Times that although robbery and burning occurred everywhere, with Chinatown being severely damaged, people were safe so far.
Yu Lei, chair professor at the Center for Pacific Island Countries Studies of Liaocheng University, told the Global Times on Friday that some politicians in the country’s Malaita island demanded that Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare step down, and even the Australian media have to admit that it was geopolitical competition among major powers.
Many protesters reportedly came from the country’s most populous island Malaita. The discontent between Malaita and the Solomon Islands government has existed for a long time due to the unequal distribution of resources, and some Malaita politicians were against the government.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Solomon Islands and China after the former cut ties with the island of Taiwan, the US has greatly increased its economic assistance to Malaita, up to five times the amount of assistance to the Solomon Islands government, Yu noted.
The purpose of US’ substantial assistance to Malaita island is self-evident: using the internal political conflicts of Solomon Islands to pressure the country to “recover ties” with Taiwan island and drive Chinese mainland political and economic power out of the country, Yu said.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told ABC from Honiara that he stood by the decision to cut ties with Taiwan island, despite fierce and sustained criticism. “That decision is a correct decision, it is legal, it puts Solomon Islands on the right side of history, and is in line with international law,” he said.
The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Solomon Islands is the right choice, which conforms to the trend of the times and will also stand the test of history, Zhao said, noting that bilateral exchanges have yielded achievements and any attempt to disrupt it is futile.
SOURCE: Global Times, Nov 27, 2021