China’s Fiji gam­bit

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

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 ing@wash­ing­ton­

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