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Newsline: Chinese diplomat says South Pacific should not become US-China geopolitical ‘boxing ring’

The South Pacific should not become “a boxing ring” for the US-China rivalry, a senior Chinese diplomat has said, in a bid to ease rising concerns over Beijing’s recent push for a greater security and political presence in the region. The South Pacific, previously known as a battlefield for Beijing to choke Taiwan’s international space, has gained fresh prominence since Beijing signed a controversial security agreement with Solomon Islands in April, prompting backlash from the United States, Australia and Japan. In a state television interview, Xie Feng, vice foreign minister in charge of North American and Oceanian affairs, sought to defend the security pact and put a positive light on Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to seven South Pacific nations early this month. Although Wang’s charm offensive failed to enlist the support for a broad security and trade deal from 10 South Pacific nations, Xie, who was also on the trip, said China “won heartfelt support” from the region. “They praised China from the bottom of their hearts as a good partner and true friend, promised to adhere to the one-China principle, and firmly believed that developing relations with China would help them stand on the right side of history,” he said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dont-turn-south-pacific-us-093000567.html) Xie said cooperation with China had realised solid benefits for the region, from poverty reduction and climate change to infrastructure and agricultural development.

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