China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Tonga on Tuesday for a regional tour after ten island nations deferred consideration to China’s proposed sweeping agreement on policing, security, fisheries, data, and a free trade zone.
Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, with other leaders of the island nations, called for a delay and noted that major decisions on the region should go through the Pacific Islands Forum group.
“We have not made a decision as we did not have enough time to look at it,” Fiame said.
Samoa urged fellow Pacific islands to stay united as big powers sought more sway in the region.
On Monday evening, Niue’s leader also said more time is needed to consider arrangements on how China can support existing regional plans.
China sent a draft communique and five-year action plan to the island nations with diplomatic ties to China a few weeks before the meeting, but files were leaked amid criticism that the deal would raise geopolitical tensions with the United States.
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