Chinese visit not about geopolitical point-scoring: Fiji PM Bainimarama

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Geopolitical point scoring means nothing to a nation whose communities are slipping beneath rising seas, whose jobs have been lost to a pandemic and whose families are impacted by the rapid rise in food prices.

This was the point made by Voreqe Bainimarama in a joint statement Monday with Chinese State Councilor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi.

Bainimarama has also called on the international media covering Wang’s visit to rise above their punditry and focus on how to solve these problems together.

The Prime Minister added that he had excellent discussions on how the two nations could strengthen partnerships to take on the greatest threats facing the Pacific.

“Wang Yi and I had an excellent discussion on how Fiji and China can strengthen our partnership to take on the greatest threat facing the Pacific. Our meeting today was guided by mutual respect and the common interest of our people’s continued socio-economic progress. We have a solid foundation on which to build. Fiji’s friendship with China has helped developed infrastructure, train our people and deliver essential medical supplies which accelerated our post-pandemic recovery.”

In a twitter post Bainimarama said “ The Pacific needs genuine partners, not superpowers that are super-focussed on power. At an excellent meeting with Minister Wang Yi, I’ve sought stronger Chinese commitment to keep 1.5 alive, end illegal fishing, protect the Blue Pacific’s ocean, and expand Fijian exports”.

He also said the meeting was guided by mutual respect and the common interest in the continued socio-economic progress of citizens in both countries.

Bainimarama and Wang also co-chaired the second China-Pacific Island Forum Leaders Meeting.

China’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wang Yi, also highlighted areas of focus in various areas.

“Our two sides agreed to further synergize our strategies, expand cooperation in economy, trade, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, civil aviation, education, law enforcement, emergency management and other areas within the belt and road framework of belt and road cooperation for mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. China also welcomes the Prime Minister to participate in the leader’s event and high level dialogue on global development.”

Bainimarama states any new regional agreement will only be on the basis of consensus among all ten member countries, with a key focus on Blue Pacific initiatives.

On the back of security concerns from Australia and the United States about China’s growing influence in the region, this meeting would have set the platform for Chinese engagement with the Pacific.

According to overseas media, part of Wang’s visit is to sign a broad cooperation agreement with Pacific leaders.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS