Fresh WikiLeaks documents show that in 2009 New Zealand and Australia tried to stop Chinese officials visiting Fiji and offering it economic support.
Two cables from US embassy imply that the then Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd wrote to Beijing to urge China to cancel the visit of the Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping.
An Australian Embassy official briefed the Americans, saying he asked China to join international efforts led by the Pacific Islands Forum to push Fiji toward democratic reform.
But China went ahead with the visit, calling it a brief transit stop en route to Latin America.
The cables say Fiji remained strategically important for China and Beijing was privately candid about linking development assistance and economic engagement with guaranteed political support on issues of interest to China.