28 May 2013

China foreign policy scholar says elections talk likely at Suva-Beijing meetings

2:13 pm on 28 May 2013

A China foreign policy scholar, Dr Marc Lanteigne, says Beijing will be looking to glean information on Fiji's transition to elections during Commodore Frank Bainimarama's top level meetings there this week.

The Fiji government says the prime minister is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.

Dr Lanteigne, who is the director of research at the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, says China is a relative newcomer to the region, and it is trying to address its deficit of information on the region.

He says the meetings will be partly about finding out more about the transition and what election results will mean for regional politics as a whole.

"Depending on which way the elections go, will the cold relations between Fiji, Australia and and New Zealand continue or will relations improve after a successful election and China will find itself having to deal more closely in Fiji with the west."

Dr Lanteigne says China will look to offer advice and support for the transition process but restrain itself from exerting any kind of direct influence.