NEWLY-appointed Chinese ambassador to Fiji Zhou Jian says China is open to pursuing a security pact with Fiji.
However, in the same breath he said: “We will follow Fiji’s lead and requirements. “When we developed relations with Fiji, we never interfered into your internal affairs, we’ve never attached any political strings and we’ve never sought for so called sphere of influence.
“China and Fiji relations is a comprehensive partnership. We will continue to uphold the principle of mutual respect, equal treatment, co-operation and inclusiveness to deepen relations with Fiji.” The Chinese ambassador emphasised that China came to the South Pacific to “build roads, bridges and improve the people’s livelihood.
Not to station troops and build military bases”.
While Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has not announced the Coalition Government’s official position in relation to China, in August last year during a visit to Australia he said he would not be seeking a security pact with China if he won the 2022 General Election. He said Fiji would not go down the same path as the Solomon Islands, the country appreciated what China had done in the past in filling the void left by Australia after the 1987 coup.
In January this year, the Fijian PM said his government would end a police training and exchange agreement with China. He said, “our system of democracy and justice systems are different so we will go back to those that have similar systems with us,” referring to Australia and New Zealand.