President Xi Jinping on Monday told leaders of Pacific island nations that China is willing to work with them to build a community "with a shared future".
In a written address to a meeting of China-Pacific foreign ministers, Xi stressed that no matter how the international situation may change, China will always be a good friend of Pacific island countries.
The president's remarks came as Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his counterparts from 10 nations in Fiji during a diplomatic tour of the region, but was unable to reach a consensus with them on a sweeping trade and security communique.
According to Reuters news agency, a draft communique and five-year action plan sent by China to the invited nations, which include Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands ahead of the meeting, showed Beijing was seeking a sweeping regional trade and security agreement.
After the talks, Wang said the Pacific nations had agreed on five areas of cooperation but more discussions were needed for further consensus. The areas he listed did not include security.
He urged his counterparts not to be "too anxious" and "nervous" about China's aims, saying its prosperity and that of other developing nations means there will be "great harmony".
One of the countries invited to the conference had told Reuters that several of the Pacific nations wanted to defer action on the communique or have it amended.
"There has been general support from the 10 countries we have with diplomatic relations. But there are some, you know, of course there are some concerns on some specific issues," said Qian Bo, China's ambassador to Fiji. "We never impose anything to other countries, let alone to our developing friends and small island countries. Never has that happened."
The United States, Australia, Japan and New Zealand have expressed concern over a security pact signed by the Solomon Islands with China last month, saying it had regional consequences.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a speech last week, described China as the only country with "both the intent to reshape the international order – and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it".
China hit back, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying that Blinken’s speech seeks to “contain and suppress China’s development and uphold US hegemony." (Agencies)
Last updated: 2022-05-30 HKT 16:15