‘Our Systems Differ’: Fiji PM Rabuka Ends MoU with China, Asks Chinese Cops to Return

Edited By: Shankhyaneel Sarkar

Last Updated: January 27, 2023, 13:54 IST

Fiji PM Sitiveni Rabuka ended the security arrangement deal with China and signalled towards forging a new agreement with Australia or New Zealand (Image: Reuters)

Fiji PM Rabuka asked Chinese police officers stationed in the country to leave after he ended an MoU with Beijing

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka ended the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Fiji and China which would allow Chinese policemen to be deployed to Fiji on attachment programs for three to six months, the Fiji Times said in a report.

The MoU also saw Fijian cops undergoing training in China. “There’s no need for us to continue, our systems are different. Our system of democracy and justice systems are different so we will go back to those that have similar systems with us,” Rabuka was quoted as saying by the Fiji Times.

Rabuka referred to neighbours Australia and New Zealand when he referred to nations who have ‘similar systems’ while ending the MoU which allowed Chinese personnel to work within the Fiji Police Force.

The MoU was signed in September 2021 when his predecessor Frank Bainimarama was ruling the tiny Pacific island nation-state. The Fiji Times report said that Rabuka indicated that officers from other countries like Australia and New Zealand could stay because their systems were similar to Fiji.

Australia and Fiji signed several agreements in October 2022 to bolster defence cooperation.

The nation, which is perceived as a leader of the South Pacific region and has played a major role in the formation of the South Pacific Forum, has been pivotal to the region’s response to competition between China and the United States, according to a report by Reuters.

Earlier in April 2022, the US, Australia and New Zealand were increasingly growing wary of Chinese presence in the South Pacific after Solomon Islands signed a framework agreement on security cooperation with China.

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Under the agreement, China can send police and even military forces to the Solomon Islands to assist Honiara in “maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property, and providing humanitarian assistance.”

It also says that these personnel can “use its forces to protect Chinese personnel and projects, and for its ships to stopover and carry out “logistical replenishment” in the Solomon Islands.”

Solomon Islands PM Manasseh Sogavare at that time said that the country signed a bilateral security agreement with Australia which was inadequate.

China is also trying to tie down island nations Vanuatu and Kiribati to similar security arrangements which have raised tensions in Canberra as well as Washington DC as they fear that China is building ‘security perches’ in the south Pacific.

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