Tahiti leader open to French and Chinese initiatives

French Polynesia‘s president Edouard Fritch has expressed reservations about a French push to construct an Indo-Pacific axis to counter China.

Edouard Fritch Photo: Supplied/ Présidence de la Polynésie française

Last year, the French president Emmanuel Macron outlined his new strategy to contain Beijing‘s growing influence during his visit to the South Pacific.

Mr Fritch, however, said it would be an error to have the French initiative and China‘s Silk Road project rival each other.

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He made the comment as the University of French Polynesia is holding a conference on French and Chinese strategies for the region.

Mr Fritch has called on Europe to show its presence and political engagement in the Pacific through the three French territories – New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna.

Building an Indo-Pacific axis was an additional and alternative offer to China‘s Silk Road initiative.

French Polynesia should try to benefit from China‘s bid to link Asia with South America while keeping its soul, dignity and autonomy, Mr Fritch said.

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