China has suffered its first setback in an escalating tug of war with western powers for dominance in the Pacific Islands after it failed to win support from countries in the region for a comprehensive partnership centred on security.
At a virtual meeting yesterday with Wang Yi, the Chinese foreign minister, leaders from eight Pacific island nations agreed to co-operate in five areas including health, disaster management and agriculture. But Wang said that more discussion was needed on the China-Pacific Islands Countries Common Development Vision that Beijing had proposed.
The blow to China came after the US and Australia strongly pushed back against Beijing’s efforts to entice more of the small, mostly impoverished Pacific Island nations into its embrace.
The Chinese embassy in Fiji said Beijing would lay out its plans for the region in a “position paper” in response to the questions Pacific leaders had raised at the meeting. They had agreed to discuss the draft communique prepared by Beijing “until we have an agreement”, said Qian Bo, China’s ambassador to Fiji.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here’s the rest of today’s news. — Emily
Five more stories in the news
1. Oil breaches $120 a barrel as petrol and diesel prices soar Oil rose higher than $120 a barrel on Monday as increasing prices for fuels, such as petrol and diesel, combined with lingering concerns over supplies from Russia to propel crude to its highest level in two months.
Related read: EU leaders at a summit are struggling to agree an oil embargo against Russia that exempts a key supply route — a concession aimed at appeasing Hungary, which has been blocking the sanctions for nearly a month.
2. US will not send Ukraine weapons that can strike Russia Joe Biden said the US would not send Ukraine long-range rocket systems that could be used to attack Russian territory, dealing a blow to Kyiv, which has repeatedly asked for such weapons.
3. France apologises for chaos at Champions League final France has apologised for the botched security that marred the Champions League final in Paris on Saturday, but sharp differences over who was to blame risked turning into a diplomatic row after Downing Street called the scenes “deeply upsetting and concerning”.
4. Tether has held some reserves at Bahamas bank The stable coin issuer has held some of its reserves at a small Bahamas bank called Capital Union, people familiar with the matter said, shedding further light on how the group manages the $73bn stablecoin that underpins the crypto market. Tether has generally declined to reveal where exactly it holds the assets that back its eponymous token.
5. SoftBank cuts top executives’ pay SoftBank slashed the wages of its top executives after its Vision Fund posted a historic loss of ¥3.5tn ($27.6bn) caused by a rout in tech stocks, rising interest rates and a regulatory crackdown in China.
The day ahead
India GDP figures Economists expect that Tuesday’s gross domestic product report will show that India’s slowed in the fourth quarter. (The Economic Times)
Japan economic data April unemployment rate, retail spending figures and flash industrial production data are set to be released today.
The World Trade Organization meeting The group’s dispute settlement body will hold its monthly meeting.
Eurozone inflation Eurozone inflation is expected to hit a new high of 7.7 per cent when figures for May are published on Tuesday — nearly quadruple the European Central Bank’s 2 per cent target.
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