Fiji’s leader indicated Wednesday his nation is reconsidering its security ties with China at a time that geopolitical tensions in the Pacific are rising.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji was reviewing a contentious police cooperation agreement it signed with China in 2011 that has allowed Chinese police officers to be stationed in Fiji.
At one point during a news conference in Wellington with his New Zealand counterpart Chris Hipkins, Rabuka appeared to go one step further by referring to Fiji’s “discontinuation” of the agreement.
“If our systems and our values differ, what cooperation can we get from them?” Rabuka said, referring to China.
“We need to look at that again before we decide whether we go back to it, or if we continue the way that we have in the past by cooperating with those who have similar democratic values and systems.”
Rabuka said Fiji was finalizing a defense agreement with New Zealand, which it expected to complete next week. He said the new agreement would allow Fiji’s military to build its capacity and skill and be exposed to new technologies.