Wang Yi’s visit: Journalists prevented from covering events in the Pacific?

As Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Pacific countries, reports claim journalists have been blocked from covering the events.

The Guardian newspaper quoted reporters as saying they were not allowed to film the events and were not allowed to ask questions during Wang Yi’s visit to the island nations.

Also read: China plans security and economic cooperation with Pacific island nations

The development comes as Samoa last week signed a bilateral agreement with China for “greater collaboration” during the visit of the Chinese foreign minister. The reports claimed that the details of the engagement were unclear, but that it involved a security and economic engagement.

The Samoan government said the discussions revolved around “climate change, the pandemic and peace and security”. Reports claimed that local media were invited but no questions were asked by government officials.

Watch: Small Pacific nations reject China deal

Western governments were alarmed after China announced its plan to engage with Pacific island nations, although Wang Yi dismissed concerns, saying, “China’s cooperation with Pacific island countries does not target any country”.

Wang had told reporters in the Solomon Islands that “Pacific island countries have the right to make their own choice.” The economic package would have involved free trade agreements and millions in aid to Pacific nations.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his country needed to “react” and “step up” its engagement in the Pacific in the face of China’s growing footprint in the region.

Albanese criticized the previous Australian government for saying it had ‘dropped the ball’ while saying that ‘for our Pacific Island neighbours, the issue of climate change is a matter of absolute national security’.

The newly elected Australian Prime Minister has promised to increase aid and establish defense training schools in the Pacific.

(With agency contributions)


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