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Oceania countries to discuss expanding ties with China

The annual Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), to be held in mid-July in Fiji, will discuss China’s growing desire to establish and develop relations with the states of Oceania. This was announced today, June 24, by TASS with reference to the ABC broadcasting corporation.

According to the agency, the main issue on the agenda of the summit is the security pact signed by the Solomon Islands and China in May 2022. As previously reported EADailyhe caused serious concerns from the Australian authorities, who argue that this document will allow China to designate its military presence in the region, as well as provide an opportunity to conclude a general agreement with ten countries in the region.

The leaders of the states of Oceania also intend to discuss a common strategy to combat global warming and the project of the Blue Ocean environmental initiative, aimed at reducing the volume of plastic waste in the seas and oceans.

According to ABC, this year the secretariat of the organization intends to cancel the traditional meeting of PTF leaders with partners of the organization, which includes 21 countries, including the UK, EU, India, China, the USA and Japan. It is reported that the reason for this decision was the desire to “focus on key domestic issues”, as well as “avoid geostrategic tensions” and pressure from “influential players”.

The forum participants are expected to approve a new agreement on the mandatory rotation of the position of the Secretary General of the PTF, which will provide all countries with equal opportunities and help avoid the withdrawal of the Micronesian states from the organization. This was announced by Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia in February 2021. In a joint statement, the leaders of these countries indicated that the decision to leave the PTF was caused by a violation of the conditional agreement on the rotation of the position of its general secretary, which excludes the possibility for them to take part in the management of the organization.

In April this year, China and the Solomon Islands signed a framework agreement on security cooperation. The authorities of Australia and the United States have warned the government of the Solomon Islands that they will react harshly if the PRC, in accordance with this, deploys its military facilities on the territory of the country. In turn, Beijing announced the absence of such plans.

Later Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi made a tour of the countries of Oceania, visiting the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an intergovernmental organization created to deepen cooperation between the independent states of the Pacific and represent their interests. It was founded in 1971. Its full members are 18 countries and overseas territories, which include Australia, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Nauru, Niue, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Fiji, French Polynesia. If the countries of Micronesia leave the PTF, the organization will remain 12 states, representing only the southern part of the region.

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