US initiative crushes China in Pacific Islands
Washington: After news leaked in March 2022 that Beijing was working on a secret deal with the Solomon Islands to open the door to a Chinese naval base, US initiatives in the Pacific islands set China in check.
The Americans approached the Pacific Islanders without any discrimination and were also very accommodating to their concerns. This was in stark contrast to Beijing’s attitude, which was big brother and vindictive, to say the least, political research group Poreg reported.
Over the next six months, the Biden administration has taken action, addressing the concerns of the Pacific Island community, tackling climate change, protecting fisheries from encroachment, strengthening regional institutions and promoting Sustainable development.
This orientation is well received with Pacific regionalism at work. The same goes for the announcement of over $810 million in aid. Over the past decade, the United States has provided some $1.5 billion to support the Pacific islands, Poreg reported.
With the Washington summit, the U.S.-Pacific partnership has moved beyond the usual rhetoric and fulminations against communist China.
The presence of the Solomon Islands lent added weight to the two-day summit while delivering a stark shock to Beijing which had signed a security pact with Honiara, Poreg reported.
The 11-point statement stands in stark contrast to Beijing’s May 2022 rejection of Beijing’s plan to place everything under China’s control, from security to fisheries in Pacific island nations.
Success came with President Joe Biden as he drew attention to pressing issues facing Pacific island nations, including climate change. Beijing, on the other hand, made a crude attempt to place them under its orbit, Poreg reported.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi was at his persuasive best when he chaired May’s meeting of ten island nations to bind them together in a security pact.
The leaders of the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Niue and Micronesia listened to him with rapt attention. And he returned home triumphantly.
It was a short-lived euphoria depending on the events since eight of these ten Chinese guests have now sided with Washington.
Also turned a cold eye to the China pact which could have seen China’s involvement in its cybersecurity and normal policing in addition to sensitive nautical charting while giving wings to Beijing’s military and financial ambitions , Poreg reported.
Initially, invitations for the end of September summit were only for 12 island countries with which Washington has formal diplomatic relations.
Responding to public opinion and criticism in equal measure, the Biden administration expanded the meeting to include all members of the Pacific Islands Forum, including the French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesia; as well as the Cook Islands and Niue which are in free association with New Zealand. It has since announced its intention to establish diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands and Niue.
In contrast, Wang Yi’s May meeting. He had left out the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu as all recognized Taiwan, Poreg reported.
The US administration has framed its initiatives around stated priorities in the Pacific, including the 2050 Strategy for the Pacific Blue Continent and the Boe Declaration on Regional Security which identified climate change as the greatest threat to island states. .
This respectful approach helps explain why everyone attending the summit, including the initially hesitant Solomon Islands, endorsed the 11-point joint statement.
The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Continent of the Pacific highlights the concerns of the countries of the Pacific Islands Forum over the region’s persistent challenges, such as the intensification of geostrategic competition which deepens the region’s existing vulnerabilities, reported Poreg.
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