Pacific Islands Strategy Focuses on Prosperity

Relief supplies in Tonga are unloaded from a Chinese navy ship after a volcanic eruption and tsunami in January. Xue Chengking / Shenhua

Analysts believe that there is a possibility in its vision of closer relations with countries, including China

The Pacific Islands Forum launched its long-term development strategy to help address the challenges facing the region and its people, which analysts see potential for closer cooperation with China and others.

Regional heads of government approved the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy at the 51st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Suva, Fiji’s capital, on Thursday.

“As leaders of the Pacific region, our vision is to create a peaceful Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, ensuring that all Pacific peoples lead free, healthy and productive lives,” the leaders’ vision in the document read.

Forum Chair and Prime Minister of Fiji Frank Bainimarama said: “The 2050 Strategy is about what we share, our challenges and opportunities around what we need to do together. This is why the 2050 Strategy is about our people.”

Analysts and diplomats said that China, a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum, would, where possible, help help Pacific Island countries, or Pacific Island countries, achieve their development goals.

James Lawrence, director of the Institute of Australia-China Relations at the University of Technology Sydney, said China has established good working relationships with Pacific countries in recent years to help with economic aid.

“All over the world, China has put a lot of energy into relations with developing countries and that’s a good thing. You see that in the Pacific, Africa and Latin America,” he said.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who co-chaired the second foreign ministers meeting of China and Pacific Island States with the Prime Minister of Fiji in late May, said China supports the Pacific island countries in striving for peace and development and the freedom of their peoples to strive better. spirits.

Hans Hendrichk, professor of Chinese business administration at the University of Sydney, noted that China is already the largest trading partner of many Pacific countries.

He said China’s Belt and Road Initiative will be the development model for the region. BRI projects have already improved the living conditions and capabilities of local people in many island countries.

“Diplomatic power”

James Bhagwan, leader of the Pacific Regional NGO Alliance, said the 2050 Strategy has fostered greater diplomatic power. “It has to work, because we need it as a region,” he said.

The priorities and needs of PIC countries are very clear, said Bichamon Yufantong, Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Development at the University of New South Wales in Canberra. “Climate change and development, along with security, are high on their political agendas,” she said, noting that with Western media accounts focusing on what’s happening in the region, “it sometimes seems like Pacific islands are treated like passive bystanders.”

“In fact, they’re very good at diplomacy, hedging, and balancing regional powers, and we’ve seen that happen recently,” she said.

At a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that for more than half a century, China and the Pacific Island countries have experienced good development in bilateral relations and fruitful cooperation in various fields.

“We are glad to see the Pacific island countries receive more support for their development and revitalization from the countries that are willing,” Wang said when asked about the US moves.

US Vice President Kamala Harris told the Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday that the United States will appoint a new envoy to the forum, invest an additional $500 million in funding for the Pacific Islands Forum’s Fisheries Agency in exchange for fishing rights, and re-establish the United States. Agency for International Development Regional Mission in Fiji as well as the establishment of new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati.

“We believe that all countries, when seeking to cooperate with Pacific island countries, should follow the principle of openness and inclusiveness and not target any third party or harm their interests,” Wang added.

With the 2050 Strategy now in place, the Forum will focus on its implementation and implementation.

Bainimarama acknowledged that successful implementation of the 2050 Strategy will require “our dialogue and our development partners, regional agencies and international agencies understand and align their development plans with the strategy and cooperate with us on this basis.”

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