Pacific islands may pivot to China, as Beijing seeks to isolate Taiwan

The Telegraph
Date: 16 February 2019
By: Nicola Smith

Port Vila. Vanuatu, is one of a number of small islands to come under increasing pressure from Beijing CREDIT: DAVID KIRKLAND/DESIGN PICS/GETTY IMAGES/AXIOM RM

Pacific Island nations will seek new, stronger ties with China this year, despite concerns from traditional allies, one of the region’s most senior diplomats has pledged.

In a speech this month in Port Vila, Vanuatu, Dame Meg Taylor, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental body, said it was time to debate how to “collectively engage” with Beijing to gain access to its markets, technology, financing and infrastructure.

“Exploring opportunities for extending China’s Maritime Silk Road through our Blue Pacific could provide opportunities for creating regional infrastructure and access that could inspire new markets of trade between Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America,” she said.

The suggested pivot towards China comes amid reports that Beijing is ramping up pressure on the forum to formally embrace a One China policy and isolate Taiwan, an Indo-Pacific ally of the US, Australia and New Zealand.     [FULL  STORY]

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