Beijing [China], May 26 (ANI): Under the watchful eye of the United States, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to South Pacific island countries starting Thursday to ramp up ties with tiny but strategically located island nations.
Wang Yi's schedule includes visits to the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor from May 26 to June 4.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday said that Wang will meet with Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the Cook Islands and Niue via video, and chair the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Fiji.
Wang's trip will cover cooperation and deals in many fields including economy, infrastructure, climate change, public health, policing and security.
"The reason why China's presence has been welcomed by the regional countries is that China could promote the livelihood of the locals and activate the economic potentials of those islands, experts said. However, some Western media have focused only on the cooperation about security, and tried to exaggerate that the cooperation could spark a new Cold War' between China and the West in the region," state media outlet Global Times said in a report.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Wang Wenbin said this visit by Wang Yi to the South Pacific aims to deepen the friendly and cooperative relationship between China and relevant countries, and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.
"I fully disagree with the sensational remarks by some people. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some facts about China-PICs cooperation," he added.
The United States, who earlier raised concern about the security pact between China and Solomon Islands, warned South Pacific nations to be wary of "shadowy" agreements with China, which has put forth a package to expand cooperation dramatically.
"We are concerned that these reported agreements may be negotiated in a rushed, non-transparent process," State Department spokesperson Ned Price.
He added that China has a pattern of offering shadowy, vague deals with little transparency. (ANI)