China vows closer ties with Pacific Island countries on environment

China foreign minister calls US Indo-Pacific strategy a ...
Foreign Minister Wang Yi

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday that China is willing to work with Pacific Island countries for a closer comprehensive strategic partnership. Wang made the remarks while chairing the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting via video link. Wang said the relations between China and Pacific Island countries have set a good example of friendly exchanges, solidarity and cooperation between countries of different regions, sizes and systems.

Key points:

Climate change cooperation: China will 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.

Fisheries and sustainable development: 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.

Covid-19 pandemic: China will establish a China-Pacific Island Countries reserve of emergency supplies, continue to provide vaccines and various anti epidemic materials to island countries, and provide additional capital into the fund which provides support to China and Pacific Island countries to fight against the pandemic.

Disposal of contaminated water from Fukushima: China called 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.

Nuclear non-proliferation in the Pacific: Minister Wang noted that the nuclear submarine cooperation between the United States, Britain and Australia will bring nuclear proliferation risks, trigger an arms race, and undermine regional peace and stability. China said it 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.

The Chinese Foreign Minister also called for further deepening policy communication, promoting mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, and establishing a mechanism for regular foreign ministers’ meetings between China and Pacific Island countries.

China will continue providing economic and technical assistance to island countries with no political conditions attached, Wang said.

He said China will also expand exchanges and cooperation with Pacific Island countries in the fields of education, culture, health and sports.

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.

Representatives of participating island countries expressed their gratitude to China for its long-term help and support, congratulated the CPC on its founding centenary and reaffirmed their firm adherence to the one-China principle.

They also expressed their willingness to support China’s Global Development Initiative, deepen cooperation on the Belt and Road, and promote the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two sides to a new level. 

Source: ECNS, 22 October 2021