China seals deal with Samoa causing fresh jitters in western sphere

Edited By: Manas Joshi
Samoa Updated: May 28, 2022, 03:03 PM(IST)

(File photo) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

China's agreement with Samoa has come after its pact with Solomon Islands, another Pacific island nation. The region was traditionally viewed to be in the influence zone of Australia and New Zealand

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed a deal with Pacific Ocean island nation Samoa. The two countries resolved to strengthen diplomatic relations. This has sent alarm bells ringing in Australia, New Zealand and western countries including the US. Australia's newly sworn-in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he had "comprehensive plan".

China's agreement with Samoa has come after its pact with Solomon Islands, another Pacific island nation. The region was traditionally viewed to be in the influence zone of Australia and New Zealand.

Australian PM Albanese said on Saturday that his Labor goverment's plan includes a  defence training school, support for maritime security, a boost in aid and re-engaging the region on climate change.

"We will be proactive in the region, we want to engage," he told reporters.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a tour of Pacific and seeking a 10-nation deal on security and trade. In Samoa, he met  Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa and signed documents including an "economic and technical cooperation agreement", Samoa said in a statement.

"Samoa and the People’s Republic of China will continue to pursue greater collaboration that will deliver on joint interests and commitments," it said.

Also Saturday, Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said he had a “wonderful meeting” with Australia's Penny Wong, who had visited days after taking office to show the new government's attention to the Pacific Islands.

“Fiji is not anyone’s backyard - we are a part of a Pacific family," Bainimarama wrote on Twitter, posting a picture of himself and Penny Wong shaking hands.

Wang Yi is due to travel to Fiji, where he will host a meeting on Monday.

(With inputs from agencies)

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