Fiji upholds China policing agreement, Guardian Australia reports

By Thomson Reuters Mar 16, 2024 | 12:27 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Fiji will maintain a policing cooperation deal with China after a review of the agreement which has sparked concern in Australia, the Guardian Australia news site reported.

“We are now back on the original police agreement [with China] – that has been restored, we had reviewed it for 12 months,” Fijian Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua was quoted as saying.

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka put on hold the decade-old police cooperation deal between Fiji and China shortly after forming government in December 2022, citing differences in policing, investigations and legal systems.

Guardian Australia reported on Friday that Tikoduadua said “there will only be Fijian officers training in China and no embedding of Chinese officers in the Fiji police force”.

Tikoduadua’s office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for confirmation of the report.

In February, Australia’s Pacific Minister Pat Conroy said there should be “no role” for China, a growing presence in the region, in policing the Pacific Islands.

China’s ambassador to Australia, a key United States ally, said earlier this year that China had a strategy to form policing ties with Pacific Island countries to help maintain social order and this should not cause Australia anxiety.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith in Sydney; Editing by Stephen Coates)