China Seeks to Buy Eight Pacific Island Nations While Joe Biden and His State Department are Comatose – Opinion

In April, Forbes reported on a “mutual security” pact signed by the Solomon Islands and Communist China. The agreement states that the Chinese Navy (technically, the People’s Liberation Army Navy or PLAN) ‘[M]ay, according to its own needs and with the consent of the Solomon Islands, make ship visits to, carry out logistics replenishment in, and have stopover and transition in the Solomon Islands.’ The agreement also requires China, upon request of the Solomon Islands government, to send riot control and crowd control assistance, or intervene militarily to prop up the government.

Australia was shocked by the agreement, having only sent officers to help restore order to Honiara in Solomon Islands. Oddly enough the target of the riots were ethnic friction between Solomon Islanders (and, guess it?, the ethnic Chinese population).

Read more on this deal by my colleague Mike Miller: US Marines Won the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1943 — 79 Years Later, Joe Biden Is Losing It.

Financial Times published last week that China and Kiribati were in discussions to conclude a similar agreement.

According to US officials and allies, China is increasing its influence in the Pacific region by signing security agreements with two other island nations. This follows a deal with Solomon Islands.

Beijing’s talks with Kiribati, a Pacific island nation 3,000km from Hawaii where US Indo-Pacific Command is based, are the most advanced, the officials said.

“They are in talks with Kiribati and at least one more Pacific island country over an agreement that would cover much of the same ground as that with Solomon Islands,” said an intelligence official from a US ally.

The warning that Beijing is trying to further increase its clout in the Pacific came as President Joe Biden begins a visit to Asia intended to reassure allies of US commitment to regional security amid China’s push for influence.

According to experts, the negotiations with Kiribati will follow the Beijing-Silo Islands deal that allowed China to construct a navy base north of Australia.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is about to embark on a bribery, corruption, and influence-buying tour of the South Pacific.

Reuters reports that the outcome Wang is seeking is to establish a regional economic and security pact: EXCLUSIVE China seeks Pacific islands policing, security cooperation – document.

According to documents seen by Reuters, China is expected to seek a regional deal with nearly a dozen Pacific islands countries. This will include security, policing and data communication.

A draft communique and five-year action plan sent by China to 10 Pacific islands ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers on May 30 has prompted opposition from at least one of the invited nations, which says it showed China’s intent to control the region and “threatens regional stability”.

This plan is known because President David Panuelo of Federated States of Micronesia, FSM (FSM), objected both to the agreement and the communique.

In a letter to 21 Pacific leaders seen by Reuters, the president of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), David Panuelo, said his country would argue the “pre-determined joint communique” should be rejected, because he feared it could spark a new “Cold War” between China and the West.

FSM was an US-administered area until 1979 when it became independent. It currently has a “Compact of Free Association” with the United States. FSM citizens are allowed to reside and work in the United States under this agreement. The United States has to approve the entry of any military forces from other countries onto its territory. FSM would be losing a lot of economic benefits if he made a deal to China.
China’s interests in Micronesia come down to three main goals: increasing China’s international popularity, exploiting Micronesia’s strategic location, and reaping economic benefits. Micronesia may not be populous, but for China, persuading more countries to side with the Chinese government is essential to win UN support on political issues such as the treatment of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Xinjiang, as well as to cement China’s status as a global leader. This strategy has seemed to prove successful, as during Micronesian President David W. Panuelo’s 2019 visit to Beijing, he commended the one-China policy, which recognizes the Chinese government’s ownership of Taiwan, claiming it was the “bedrock” of Micronesian relations with China. China’s desire to cultivate strong ties with Micronesia also has strategic value, since the US territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands lie just to the north. China’s growing power in the Pacific would allow it to exert pressure on US and other regional interests, including those of Australia and New Zealand. Finally, over one million square miles of ocean are included in FSM territory; in fact, Micronesia’s exclusive economic zone is over three times larger than China’s. China would be able to expand its Pacific fishery operations by getting more access and building transshipment port facilities.

Out of all three goals for the Chinese strategy economic exploitation is the most important. I don’t think occupying Micronesia’s “strategic location” would work out any better for China than it did for Imperial Japan should war break out. A subset to the first objective, “increasing China’s international popularity,” is clearly “trolling the United States.” By signing agreements with a nation with a security agreement with the US, China is making a statement to the world that it is a more valuable security partner than the US. These Compacts, which we have with FSM (Full Service Military, Pulau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands), are subject to renegotiation by 2023.

The primary tactic used in pursuing China’s strategy is called ‘elite capture,’ where a small political elite is bought wholesale by the Chinese. This is also happening in Europe with Italy and Vatican City and, in my view, explains why Italy adopted the brutal and counterproductive COVID shutdown strategy…and why non-governmental organizations like WHO adopted that strategy. China’s vision includes basically owning the economies and infrastructure of the nations who sign the agreement.

This action plan proposes a ministerial dialog on cooperation and law enforcement in 2022 and China as a provider of forensic labs.

The draft communique also pledges cooperation on data networks, cyber security, smart customs systems, and for Pacific islands to “take a balanced approach” on technological progress, economic development and national security.

Huawei is a Chinese telecoms company that has been barred by the 5G networks of several U.S. allies. It tried to run submarine cables in the Pacific and run mobile networks there, but was stopped by Australia, the United States, and other countries. The US have also offered competing bids for sensitive infrastructure, inciting national security.

This communique includes proposals for a China-Pacific Islands Free Trade Area as well as support for climate and health action.

In his letter to other leaders, Panuelo said the communique would draw Pacific islands that have diplomatic relations with China “very close into Beijing’s orbit, intrinsically tying the whole of our economies and societies to them”.

Panuelo spoke out about the danger of getting caught up in conflict when tensions between China and the United States rise over Taiwan.

“The practical impacts, however, of Chinese control over our communications infrastructure, our ocean territory and the resources within them, and our security space, aside from impacts on our sovereignty, is that it increases the chances of China getting into conflict with Australia, Japan, the United States and New Zealand,” he said.

China’s provision of customs systems would lead to “biodata collection and mass surveillance of those residing in, entering and leaving our islands”, he added.

It isn’t only obscure Pacific island nations at stake. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won an easy victory in the recently held elections in the Philippines. He is a US colony exile and staunch ally. It will bring closer relations to China.

A world power can’t operate without allies. It can’t have allies if it is unreliable and passive. Quite honestly, if the State Department spent as much time on diplomacy as it did meddling in domestic politics under President Trump, we’d be in a much better position.


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