From “Bully of the Pacific” to “Bully of APEC?
The already contentious APEC summit in Papua New Guinea appeared to have hit a new low for diplomacy. It was reported in several media outlets that Chinese officials tried to force their way inside the office of Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Rimbink Pato.
According to news reports, the Chinese officials decided to use force as their course of action after being a denied a meeting with Pato. Apparently, the Chinese officials who supposedly carried senior positions in the delegation were disappointed with the wording of the APEC final communiqué.
After being denied a meeting with Pato, the Chinese officials pushed their way inside the PNG Foreign Minister’s office and called out him out asking for 2 minutes of his time.
The incident required the presence of building security who forced the Chinese officials out of the Foreign Minister’s office.
A representative of Mr. Pato confirmed that the Chinese officials did request for a meeting and was denied because the Foreign Minister wanted to remain impartial. However, it was not confirmed by the representative if a confrontation did take place.
After the Chinese officials left the premises, building security continued to remain vigilant after the alleged incident.
This was not the only reported incident regarding the boorish behaviour of the Chinese delegation at the APEC Summit.
Chinese officials took it upon themselves to prevent the media from covering a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Pacific leaders. The government of Papua New Guinea itself had granted the media full access to Xi’s meeting.
Self-interest appears to have overshadowed cooperation in this year’s APEC Summit.
The United States, represented by its Vice-President, Mike Pence accused China of imposing debt-trap diplomacy on other countries. For their part, China called out the United States for its trade protectionist policies and for initiating the trade war.
Since the U.S. pivoted away from the Pacific, China has strengthened its presence. Under its President-for-Life, Xi Jinping, China has disregarded international rulings and has bullied its way to claim ownership over disputed islands.
While Xi has stated that China supports free trade, their officials’ actions have clearly shown their motive in the Pacific: To force its way in territories in order to support the Communist country’s Silk Road Project.