rainn.png
Thursday August 11th, 2022 2:10AM

China FM visits Kiribati where fishing ground is at stake

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — China's foreign minister was due to visit the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati on Friday where the future of a vast fishing ground is at stake.

The four-hour visit by Wang Yi was his second stop on an eight-nation tour that comes amid growing concerns about Beijing’s military and financial ambitions in the South Pacific region.

Kiribati closed its borders this year as it tries to stamp out an outbreak of COVID-19. But its government made a rare exception to allow Wang and his 20-strong delegation into the country for face-to-face discussions.

At stake in Kiribati is the future of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, a stretch of ocean the size of California that has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In November, Kiribati President Taneti Maamau announced the government planned to end the commercial fishing ban that had been in place since 2015 and begin to sustainably fish the area.

Anna Powles, a senior lecturer in security studies at New Zealand's Massey University, said she expected there would be some fisheries agreements between China and Kiribati that would come from Wang's visit.

Powles said China, which already dominates fishing in the region, had offered to upgrade an airport runway and causeway in the Phoenix Island group.

“The worry is that this would essentially obliterate the fish stock,” she said. “That it would severely damage fish stocks that are already under pressure.”

She said there were also concerns that any kind of base for Chinese commercial fishing fleets in Kiribati could also be used as an additional hub for Beijing's surveillance activities.

Kiribati's president said Wang would visit his residence for bilateral discussions during the visit, and emphasized the health protocols that were in place.

Maamau said in a statement that the Chinese delegation would need to take PCR tests before arriving and stay in a travel bubble while there, and that everybody in Kiribati who came into contact with them would need to quarantine afterward for a week — presumably including himself.

“The high-level state visit is an important milestone for Kiribati-China relations, as it will strengthen and promote partnership and cooperation between our two countries after the resumption of diplomatic ties in 2019,” Maamau said.

China says Wang's trip to the region builds on a long history of friendly relations between Beijing and the island nations.

A draft document obtained by The Associated Press shows that Wang is hoping to strike a deal with 10 small Pacific nations during his visit. The sweeping agreement covers everything from security to fisheries and is seen by at least one Pacific leader as an attempt by Beijing to wrest control of the region.

Wang is hoping the countries will endorse the pre-written agreement as part of a joint communique after a May 30 meeting in Fiji with the other foreign ministers.

But Australia scrambled to counter the move Thursday by sending its own Foreign Minister Penny Wong to Fiji to shore up support in the Pacific.

In Fiji, Wong said it was up to each island nation to decide what partnerships they formed and what agreements they signed, but urged them to consider the benefits of sticking with Australia.

“Australia will be a partner that doesn’t come with strings attached nor imposing unsustainable financial burdens,” Wong said. “We are a partner that won’t erode Pacific priorities or Pacific institutions.”

China signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands last month in a move that sent shock waves around the world.

That pact has raised fears that China could send troops to the island nation or even establish a military base there, not far from Australia. The Solomon Islands and China say there are no plans for a base.

During his 10-day visit, Wang is also planning to make stops in Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Thursday he’d sent Wong to Fiji because Australia needed to “step up” its efforts in the Pacific.

“We need to respond to this because this is China seeking to increase its influence in the region of the world where Australia has been the security partner of choice since the Second World War,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that in recent years, exchanges and cooperation between Beijing and the island nations had been expanding in a development that was welcomed by the Pacific countries.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
China FM visits Kiribati where fishing ground is at stake
China’s foreign minister is visiting the remote Pacific nation of Kiribati, where the future of a vast fishing ground is at stake
10:09PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Gunman's final 90 minutes fuel questions about police delays
Texas authorities say the gunman who massacred 21 people at an elementary school was in the building for over an hour before he was killed by law enforcement officers
10:02PM ( 12 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Verlander aims for 7th win in row, Acuña ailing
Astros ace Justin Verlander has been as dominant as ever in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA in eight starts
9:56PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Kevin Spacey to face 4 sex assault charges in Britain
British prosecutors say they have authorized police to charge actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexual assault against three men
6:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
'No future for babies:' 842 US-bound Haitians end up in Cuba
Some of the more than 840 Haitians who tried to reach the United States in a boat but ended up in Cuba say Thursday that they fled violence in their country and were charged thousands of dollars by smugglers who ushered them onto a dilapidated boat and later abandoned them at sea
3:54PM ( 6 hours ago )
IOM: Up to 600 missing at sea in 3 months in Central Med
The International Organization for Migration says up to 600 people attempting to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia and Libya have gone missing during the first three months of 2022
3:26PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP World News
Lease terms for California offshore wind projects released
The Biden administration is advancing plans for offshore wind projects that would place hundreds of turbines in California's coastal waters
6:45PM ( 3 hours ago )
Macy's raises annual profit outlook on strong Q1 results
Shoppers’ return to occasion dressing helped to power Macy’s fiscal first-quarter results
6:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
NRA stages big gun show in Texas days after school massacre
The National Rifle Association begins its annual convention in Houston on Friday, and leaders of the powerful gun-rights lobbying group are gearing up to “reflect on” -- and deflect any blame for -- the deadly shooting earlier this week of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas
6:17PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Twitter shareholders sue Musk, say he 'deflated' stock price
Twitter shareholders have filed a lawsuit against billionaire Elon Musk, accusing him of unlawfully sowing doubt about his bid to buy Twitter
4:30PM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump loses appeal, must testify in New York civil probe
A New York appeals court has ruled former President Donald Trump must answer questions under oath in the state’s civil investigation into his business practices
2:21PM ( 7 hours ago )
Japan's troubled Toshiba proposes outside directors to board
Troubled Japanese technology giant Toshiba has announced some additions to its proposed leadership ahead of a shareholders’ meeting next month
7:37AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
More Memorial Day travel expected, despite high gas prices
Pandemic-weary U.S. residents are confronting high gas prices as they decide whether to travel this Memorial Day weekend
3:27PM ( 6 hours ago )
Justices won't block Biden policy on 'social cost of carbon'
The Supreme Court has allowed the Biden administration to use a higher estimate than Republican-led states want for calculating damages to people and the environment from greenhouse gas emissions
2:46PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Live updates | Putin says West will fail in isolating Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the West will fail in its attempts to isolate Russia and face growing economic problems
9:31AM ( 12 hours ago )
Russia slams sanctions, seeks to shift blame for food crisis
Moscow is pressing the West to lift sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine, seeking to shift the blame for a growing food crisis
9:26AM ( 12 hours ago )
Live updates | Ukraine reports people killed in east, north
Ukrainian governor of the eastern Luhansk region says Russian bombardments killed 3 people while strikes in the region had hit various targets including private houses and a humanitarian aid center
8:12AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
Gunman's final 90 minutes fuel questions about police delays
Texas authorities say the gunman who massacred 21 people at an elementary school was in the building for over an hour before he was killed by law enforcement officers
10:02PM ( 13 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Verlander aims for 7th win in row, Acuña ailing
Astros ace Justin Verlander has been as dominant as ever in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 6-1 with a 1.22 ERA in eight starts
9:56PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Hurricanes win Game 5, push Rangers to brink of elimination
Vincent Trocheck buried a short-handed goal, Teuvo Teravainen had a rare power-play score for Carolina and the Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round playoff series
9:55PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Daughter and her best friends 'are all gone now,' dad says
Jacklyn Cazares hadn’t yet reached her 10th birthday, but her father described her as a tough-minded “firecracker” always looking to help people in need
9:16PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Police: Texas gunman was inside the school for over an hour
Texas authorities say the gunman who massacred 21 people at an elementary school was in the building for over an hour before he was killed by law enforcement officers
8:49PM ( 1 hour ago )