US Cautions After Hawaii Neighbor Kiribati Gets Chinese Police

Source: Doctors Without Borders / wang zhao

There’s tension between China and the US. This comes from China’s controversial practices and desire for domination. Because of this, the US has put measures in place designed to keep China in check and limit its range.

However, the Asian giant perseveres as it recently posted uniformed police in Kiribati. Surprisingly, this Pacific Hawaiian neighbor requested the presence of China’s military, resulting in immediate caution from the US. Read on for more.

Chinese Police In Kiribati

On February 23rd Chinese officers were reportedly seen operating in Kiribati. Why? This Asian military came on request from this Hawaiian neighbor as they apparently needed more military help.

Source: Wikimedia/Joop

This information shocked news outlets globally. However, it’s important to note that Kiribati hasn’t disclosed its policing deal with China yet. Information like this is crucial since China’s rivalry with the United States Mint intensifies.

Kiribati Is A Small But Strategic Nation

Most people rarely know about Hawaii’s neighbor, Kiribati. But it makes sense considering it’s a small nation with 115,00 residents. Despite being small, this area is a strategic point for the United States.

Source: Wikimedia/Vladimir Lysenko

Kiribati is relatively close to Hawaii and handles one of the world’s largest economic zones. The place covers over 3.5 million square kilometers of the Pacific and has a Japanese tracking station.

‘There’s No Chinese Base Here’ Kiribati’s Police Commissioner

The nation’s acting police commissioner, Eeri Aritiera, has claimed that there are no Chinese stations in the area.

Source: Twitter/Ambassador Marie C. Damour

According to Aritiera’s email: “The Chinese police delegation team work with the Kiribati Police Service – to assist on the Community Policing program and Martial Arts (Tai Chi) Kung Fu, and IT department assisting our crime database program.”

Why Is The Police In Kiribati? No Answer Yet

Despite the Kiribati Police denying China has a base in the Pacific nation, people think otherwise. This led Reuters to Investigate further and ask police in the area questions. Precisely, they asked China’s embassy these questions.

Source: Facebook/Kiribati Police Service

Essentially, investigators asked China’s embassy in Kiribati about their presence in the nation. “What aid does the Chinese police provide to Kiribati?” Sadly, they received no response to this important question.

‘The Chinese Police Works For Kiribati, And That’s All’

Researchers revealed that the Pacific nation requested China’s policing assistance in 2022. This discovery came after looking at Aritiera’s attendance at a meeting between China’s public security minister, Wang Xiaohong.

Source: Twitter/Lyle Morris

After this December meeting, up to twelve uniformed Chinese officers arrived at Kiribati. When questioned about their purpose, Aritiera said, “They only provide the service that the Kiribati Police Service needs or requests.”

China Previously Tried To Strike  A Region-Wide Trade And Security Deal

The United States’ caution to Kiribati seems valid, considering China’s previous attempts. For context, the Asian country tried to establish a region-wide trade and deal in the Pacific region. However, the Pacific Islands forum rejected the offer in 2022.

Source: Twitter/Globe Eye News

However, China is relentless. They signed a secret security pact with the Solomon Islands, allowing them to deploy the Chinese police in 2022. Naturally, Washington and Canberra criticized this controversial agreement because it failed to consider the region’s stability.

China’s True Intentions? Territorial Control

Concerned investigators tried to get feedback from Kiribati’s president and police commission but were unsuccessful. This led many to ponder about China’s True Intentions with Kiribati. In this situation, Australian National University’s Pacific expert Graeme Smith has an answer.

Source: Twitter/GAMZIRI24

Smith claims that China aims to expand into other territories, and police function as spies. “It is about extraterritorial control,” Smith echoes. The police from China will be the country’s eyes and ears in Kiribati, which is a strategic location in the US.

Criteria Assures That China Isn’t Biassed

People worry that the Chinese police may prioritize other Chinese citizens and rarely attend to people in Kiribati. Aritiera understood and addressed this concern, saying the Chinese police would prioritize everyone on the island.

Source: Wikimedia/Rosaleonie

This includes people from all areas, whether China or Kiribati. These officers will be fair and ensure order as instructed by Aritiera. Is this enough to ease people’s concerns? Apparently not. Several online forums show their skepticism.

China Wants To Form Policing Ties With The Pacific

Graeme Smith’s opinion on China’s desire for extraterritorial control became more prominent with news from China’s ambassador. The representative told Australia it plans to form policing ties with Pacific island countries. Why?

Source: Twitter/Michael Field

China claims the deeper connection will help to maintain social order in these countries. So. It shouldn’t cause Australia to panic. But, this move has only worsened the tension between China and the US.

Kiribati Quickly Switched Ties From Taiwan

When they received news of China’s desire to connect with the Pacific Islands, Kiribati cut ties with Taiwan. The Kiribati-Taiwan relationship existed since 2003, initiated by Kiribati. However, the Pacific counter has switched ties to Beijing.

Source: Twitter/China News

President Taneti Maamau even encouraged the connection with China. He advocates for Chinese investment in infrastructure, showing Kiribati may continue working with the country under his rule.

China Built Its Embassy And Sent Aid

Shortly after, China built its embassy on the Pacific’s main island to further police ties with the islands. They also sent agricultural and medical teams into the area, helping to establish the country.

Source: Twitter/People’s Daily, China

However, there’s one thing that’s gravely bothered the media. China announced its plans to rebuild a World War Two U.S. military airship in Kiribati. Why? No one knows for now, but the information alarmed even Washington. For now, China hasn’t begun construction.

China’s Security Ambitions Are Bothering

People are concerned about China’s move to Kiribati. Even Meg Keen, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program, Meg Keen, commented. They said that China had “security ambitions in the region.”

Source: Twitter/Global Times

In their words: “Australia and the United States are concerned about that prospect, in Kiribati and around the region, and are taking measures to protect their position.”

For Now, The US Will Watch Closely

Tensions between China and the US are higher since the latter chose to set up in Kiribati. This maneuver is problematic since Kiribati is close to Hawaii, which is a strategic point for the US.

Source: Twitter/Globe Eye News

Commentators worry the Chinese police force in Kiribati may double as spies for the Asian country. Spies for what purpose? No one is certain. But the general speculation is that China aims to expand its territory covertly.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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