China’s Fiji gambit
A State Department cable made public last week highlight’s China’s efforts to co-opt the government of the remote South Pacific island of Fiji using what the cable called “checkbook diplomacy.”
The 2009 cable quoted an official from Fiji’s military regime as saying the island nation, located some 1,700 miles from Australia and 1,200 miles from New Zealand, is viewed by the Chinese as “an important partner, noting that China valued Fiji as a useful transit point and for its proximity to important shipping lanes.”
The official said China has wide influence in Fiji because of its assistance, trade and investment ties and noted that “the Chinese government was providing Fijian government officials with training on a range of skills in China,” including “training military officials, a practice that began after the 2006 coup.”
Bill Gertz can be reached at insidether firstname.lastname@example.org.