US expresses commitment to Pacific islands that rejected China pact

The US said on Tuesday that it was committed to supporting nations in the Pacific Ocean region. The words have come just a day after ten Pacific nations rejected a pact with China. The US said Beijing’s own actions showed how opaque its offer was.

The rejection of the pact is being seen as a diplomatic setback to China.

State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated that the United States, like Australia, had made clear its concerns that China had offered a “shadowy” deal with regional consultations.

In keeping with Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s tone on the US rivalry with China, Price did not gloat and said the Pacific islands made their “own sovereign decisions.”

“We are committed to continue deepening our relationship with our Pacific Island partners and in the Indo-Pacific, including working together to deliver for our people,” Price told reporters.

Price highlighted concerns raised by journalists in Fiji, Samoa and the Solomon Islands who covered the visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi including a refusal to permit questions.

Also Read | Wang Yi visit: Journalists blocked from covering events in Pacific?

“When we talk about these opaque, shadowy deals, I think you need only look at… the PRC’s efforts to obscure these very deals,” Price said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

Beijing attempted to “even go so far as to prevent officials in the region from facing reporters in their own countr(ies),” he said.

China had proposed a pact that would include expanded training of Pacific islands’ police, conducting sensitive marine mapping and gaining greater access to natural resources.

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