Fiji and Forum Secretariat should be more transparent and open about the Chinese Foreign Minister’s
May 25, 2022
Fiji’s foreign policy belongs to the people of Fiji, not the Fiji First Party, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Professor Prasad’s comments following reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to the Pacific this week to visit Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor.
It has been reported that Minister Wang will attend the second China-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in person.
“Given these developments, several questions arise”, Professor Prasad said.
“Is Fiji hosting the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Fiji? If it is, why has the Government said nothing about it?”
“Beijing has sharply increased its engagement in the region in recent years, including with its recent bilateral security agreement with Solomon Islands. Does Fiji intend to engage with China in the same way?”
“Fiji, as Chair of the Pacific Forum, must be open and transparent about its role. In addition, the people of Fiji must be fully informed about any agreement that Fiji may be planning to sign with China”.
“How the Government manages Fiji’s relationship with China also raises questions about our own fundamental values. NFP, in opposition and certainly in government, would value democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and human rights for all”.
“China’s worldview does not respect these values as has been seen in its recently exposed repressive behaviour in places such as Hong Kong. Our relationship with China therefore also says a lot about the things that we in Fiji consider important”.
“How we engage with world powers such as China is a matter for us all to discuss and towards which all of Fiji’s people should contribute. The Fiji Government must speak up and tell us how it intends to engage with China”.