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China names special envoy to Pacific Islands as rivalry with US heats up in region

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HONG KONG — China has named a special envoy to fill a new role in its Pacific Islands diplomacy as it competes with the United States for influence in the region.

Qian Bo, China’s ambassador to Fiji since 2018, was appointed as the first special envoy of the Chinese government on Pacific Islands affairs, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced last week.

Wang said Beijing hoped Qian could enhance exchanges and cooperation between China and Pacific Island nations and work to promote the development of their comprehensive strategic partnership.

China only appoints permanent special envoys for regions or issues of particular interest or concern, such as the Korean peninsula, Horn of Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria and climate change.

Read more at South China Morning Post