Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong in Adelaide, Monday, May 9, 2022. (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)
Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

China’s efforts to upend Western predominance in the Pacific came into greater focus on Wednesday following the emergence of a new agreement intended to deepen Beijing’s ties to the region.

In a draft communique and five-year action plan sent to 10 Pacific island nations -- Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Niue and the Federated States of Micronesia -- China has proposed new agreements on security and technology cooperation that have Western capitals worried.

The pending agreement is a direct challenge to the new Australian government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who has vowed a response. In a sign of the new government’s focus, his Foreign Affairs Minister, Penny Wong, arrived in Fiji on Thursday.