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Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Samoa signs bilateral agreement amid western concerns over China’s growing influence in

CANBERRA (CU)_China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently on a tour across the Pacific, with plans to visit eight islands across the region over the coming weeks. Last month, the communist superpower signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, prompting concern among Western allies over the potential of setting up a Chinese military base in the Pacific archipelago. Meanwhile, Beijing is looking to further expand its economic and security influence in the region.

Amid calls from the West to spurn any Chinese attempt to extend its security reach in the Pacific, Samoa signed a bilateral agreement with Beijing on Saturday (28 May). While details of the deal remain unclear as yet, it is reportedly a part of the Pacific island’s “greater collaboration” with the Chinese Communist Party. In a press release issued on Saturday, the Samoan government confirmed of Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s meeting with the Chinese Foreign Minister, during which the parties discussed matters of mutual interest, including peace and security, as well as the pandemic and climate change.

It further noted that Beijing would support infrastructural development efforts across various sectors in Samoa, adding that a new framework for future projects is “to be determined and mutually agreed”. “Samoa and the People’s Republic of China will continue to pursue greater collaboration that will deliver on joint interests and commitments,” the release read.

Over the past week, the Chinese government has attempted to remain discreet about the Foreign Minister’s Pacific tour. During the Solomon Islands leg of Minister Wang’s tour, journalists for international outlets were reportedly blocked from attending press events, while those who were allowed had extremely limited opportunity to ask questions. During the signing of the deal with Samoa, local media was invited to witness the event, although no questions were taken.

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