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Xinhua Commentary: Pacific Island Countries Should Not be Anyone’s “Backyard”

Xinhua News Agency published a commentary regarding a statement by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Thomas-Greenfield made the following statement in an interview on April 1st:

“[The U.S. is] not trying to force countries to choose between us and China. What we’re doing is giving them a choice to make. Many countries will say we’re forced into these relationships because we don’t have other choices. We’re giving them those other choices. And those other choices mean having the U.S. have their backs, having the U.S. standing with them side by side as they address some of the challenges that China is forcing upon them.” [2]

Xinhua called the statement “not only illogical but also a misrepresentation of the facts.” It stated that the Pacific Island countries have the political wisdom to make their own decisions. Below are some translated excerpts from the commentary:

“In recent years, the U.S. has been aggressively promoting the “Indo-Pacific strategy,” from the AUKUS (security partnership among the US, UK, and Australia), to the QUAD (quadrilateral security dialogue among the US, Japan, India, and Australia), and further to the “Blue Pacific Partnerships” initiative (involving the US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK). The United States has gone to great lengths in creating various “circles” to contain China, enticing and utilizing Pacific Island nations as a crucial part of its containment strategy. However, the United States underestimates the political wisdom of the Pacific Island countries in discerning the current situation, as well as their determination to pursue an independent and autonomous development path.”

“In April 2022, China signed a government-to-government security cooperation framework agreement with the Solomon Islands. In July 2023, China and the Solomon Islands formally established a comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect and common development in the new era. During the 2024 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, President Lionel Aingimea of Nauru stated that, as a Pacific Island nation and a developing country, Nauru supports “building bridges” rather than “erecting walls” and hopes to construct a more integrated and closely-connected world.”

“Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama recently stated that China’s assistance to Pacific Island nations has played an important role in regional development.”

“The various slanders and smears by the U.S. against China’s pragmatic cooperation with Pacific Island nations will only expose the U.S.’ domineering attitude of judging others by its own standards. Pacific Island nations are independent sovereign states and not anyone’s “backyard.”


Xinhua, April 4, 2024

CSIS, April 1, 2024