Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: China falls short on big diplomatic deal in South Pacific

China fell short Monday on a bold plan to have 10 Pacific nations endorse a sweeping new agreement covering everything from security to fisheries as some in the region expressed deep concerns. Wang was in Fiji to co-host a key meeting with the foreign ministers from the 10 island nations. At an unusual news conference afterward, Wang and Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama spoke for about 30 minutes and then abruptly left the stage as reporters tried to shout out questions. (https://www.kpbs.org/news/international/2022/05/30/china-falls-short-on-big-deal-in-south-pacific-but-finds-smaller-wins) That left many details of what transpired at the meeting unanswered. But it was clear the nations hadn’t endorsed China’s plan. “As always, we put consensus first among our countries throughout any discussion on new regional agreements,” Bainimarama said. But there have been plenty of smaller wins for China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he continues an island-hopping tour of the region. While there have been growing international concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions in the region, many Fijians see a benefit in foreign investment wherever it comes from, so long as it uplifts the people.

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