Monday, July 15, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Wednesday, July 13, 2022
Kiribati 'cooking something with China' - former Kiribati president
By Selected News Articles @ 9:06 PM :: 1961 Views :: World News, Military

Kiribati 'cooking something with China' - former Kiribati president

by Eleisha Foon, Radio New Zealand, July 13, 2022

Former Kiribati president Anote Tong suspects a major agreement is "cooking" between Beijing and Tarawa after the country's decision to quit the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati President Taneti Maamau's "surprise" announcement to abandon its membership from the region's premier policy and political body at the 51st Forum Leaders' meeting this week has heightened concerns the Micronesian nation is moving closer to China.

"I know they are cooking something with China," Tong, who led the atoll islands from 2003 to 2016, said.

"I think it would have started with the reopening of the Phoenix Island Protected Area."

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area is the largest designated marine protected area in the world, spanning almost 400,000 sq km in the South Pacific Ocean, midway between Australia and Hawaii.

Sources have told RNZ Pacific that a possible deal may include exclusive access to Chinese vessels to the Protected Area.

Tong believed the move by the Maamau government suggested that it hoped to "gain from being isolated from the region" by striking a deal directly with China.

"It's totally unexpected. I did not think it was in our nature, in our character, to do something quite so radical like that," he said.

The Kiribati Government is under financial pressure due to the economic impacts of Covid-19 and the current drought.

"I know that the government is in a serious problem with the escalating budget which is not sustainable," Tong said.

He said it should not come as a surprise if the government was talking about a deal directly with the Chinese about the Phoenix Islands.

"I have seen expressions in the past in which the president [Maamau] confirmed China was going to assist in the development of Canton Islands ... a former US military base and it was in closer proximity to Hawaii. So, we are very strategically located," he said.

"It is the reason why Kiribati may have withdrawn from the Pacific Island Forum."

Meanwhile, Kiribati's opposition leader Tessie Lambourne is blaming Kiribati's decision to withdraw from the Forum on pressure exerted by China.

The former diplomat told the Guardian she was "shocked and extremely disappointed" by the government's move.

Lambourne said she believed the decision was influenced by China, and that the Maamau administration was weak, vulnerable and greatly indebted to Beijing.

She said someone seems to be telling the Kiribati government that the country doesn't need regional solidarity.

"I'm embarrassed because what we are saying is that we are not in the fold … we are outside," she told the Guardian.

"And why are we outside? I think it's us who keep ourselves out … because we are not engaged or engaging."

read … Full Report


2021: China plans to revive strategic Kiribati airstrip

2021: Mehau in Majuro – How the US Meth Epidemic Began

2019: RAND: Chinese Influence in Micronesia


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii