U.S.-led alliance intends to hold China in check in Pacific region

Courtesy of Foreign Ministry
Foreign ministers from participating countries of the Partners in the Blue Pacific attend a meeting in New York on Thursday.

NEW YORK — A U.S.-led alliance, which includes Japan, Australia, Britain and New Zealand, intends to keep China in check by providing large-scale economic assistance to Pacific island nations.

The first meeting of foreign ministers from the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP), which was established in June to support Pacific island nations, was held in New York on Thursday.

In a joint statement, the PBP said it is committed to working on climate change, illegal fishing, infrastructure development and other issues that are a priority for Pacific island nations.

Canada, France, Germany, India and South Korea also joined the meeting as observers. Canada and Germany officially announced their intentions to join the framework at the meeting.

The participating nations intend to contain China through the PBP, which is increasing its influence over the region, by providing massive amounts of economic assistance to such island countries. By expanding the framework, the group aims to further strengthen its ability to keep China in check.

“As we’ve seen in some instances, clearly China has ambitions in the Pacific, some of which have caused concern among Pacific Island leaders,” said Kurt Campbell, coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the U.S. National Security Council, at a press conference after the meeting.

The participating nations plan to take a proactive approach and support issues important to the region, he added.

Japan has regularly held the Pacific Islands Leaders Meetings since 1997 and has gained knowledge in supporting island nations.

“We would like to promote cooperation by utilizing Japan’s strength and having the entire country work together,” said Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.