China slams 'irresponsible comments' on its Pacific ties

- Aug 08, 2019-

The United States should stop making "irresponsible comments" over ties between China and Pacific island countries, and instead make more concrete efforts to help the island countries' development and regional peace, Beijing said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the US to give up its Cold War mindset and zero-sum game mentality and take a fair view of China's ties with Pacific island countries.

Hua's remarks, part of a statement issued late on Tuesday, came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of "attempts to redraw the Pacific in its authoritarian image" on Monday during a visit to the Federated States of Micronesia.

Pompeo, the first US secretary of state to visit Micronesia, said the US will strengthen ties with it and two other Pacific island countries, and he announced that it has begun negotiations with the three countries to renew their compacts of free association.

Pompeo's words were intended to "smear" China and sow discord between China and Pacific island countries, Hua said. She said such attempts will fail because China's ties with the countries "are built on mutual respect and equal treatment".

"When developing friendly cooperative relations with the Pacific island countries in various areas, China pursues the greater good and shared interests and upholds the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith," she said. "This is sincerely welcomed by all those countries."

The people in these countries are in the best position to judge their countries' ties with China, which the US has no right to criticize, Hua said.

Zhou Fangyin, director of the Center for Pacific Island Countries Studies of the Guangdong Institute for International Strategies, said Pacific island countries warmly welcome cooperation with China.

Instead of being condescending, China is developing cooperation with these countries on an equal basis, Zhou said, adding that China attaches no political conditions to its aid and doesn't interfere in their domestic affairs.

Also, the infrastructure that China has helped build in these countries has brought tangible benefits to their people, Zhou said. The projects include roads, bridges and schools.

In a meeting between President Xi Jinping and leaders of Pacific island countries on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting in November in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific island nations agreed to lift their ties with China to a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development.

China hopes to co-host the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum with the island countries in the latter half of 2019, Xi said.