Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with representatives of 10 South Pacific countries on May 30. However, they didn’t sign the regional agreement covering security and economy as planned. 

Less than a week before the meeting, ABC News disclosed a copy of a leaked draft of China’s Common Development Vision agreement.”

Shortly after, Micronesia’s President David Panuelo directly warned that this might lead to regional geopolitical confrontation, weakening the sovereignty of Pacific countries.

China’s ambassador to Fiji, Qian Bo, confirmed on the 30th that there are some concerns about the agreement, but he didn’t name anything specific.

Although the agreement was temporarily paused, Beijing’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that it was a process of ongoing discussion, and not every meeting has to issue a joint document. 

Dr. Anna Powles, a Senior Lecturer at Massey University in New Zealand, told the BBC that Pacific island leaders disagreed with some parts of the agreement and China’s attempts to ensure they agreed.

Political science professor Marc Lanteigne wrote to BBC that China’s proposal to establish a so-called comprehensive strategic partnership was concerning. He wrote, “It’s a very vague reference that could leave room for future interpretation and could also give Beijing a ‘tacit veto’ over the internal affairs of its Pacific partners.”

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