An official from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) says his nation values its relationship with China in terms of its economic partnership, which benefits its people.

Acting secretary of justice Leonito Bacalando Jr spoke to NHK in Tokyo on Wednesday. He is visiting Japan to attend a meeting of defence ministers of Pacific island nations.

Bacalando called Japan “an important partner of the Pacific islands,” and said, “there are a lot of opportunities and areas that we can explore.”

Micronesia is a large ocean state with over 600 islands spread across a vast exclusive economic zone.

Bacalando said the country has to “think about transnational crimes” and “possible violation of our fisheries laws.”

Other countries have been expressing concerns about China’s growing influence in the South Pacific through investment and assistance.

Micronesia has diplomatic relations with China. Bacalando said, “we value that relationship,” which he described as “robust.”

He said there are “a lot of perspectives with respect to this type of relationship,” but he said his country concentrates “on the good things about it” in terms of its economic partnership.

“We find solutions and benefits to our communities and to our people,” he said.