Voreqe Bainimarama plans talks with Beijing leaders

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 May, 2013, 5:12am


Fiji's military ruler says he will meet leaders in Beijing this month, a week after unveiling an official trip to Russia, as he looks beyond strained regional ties in the South Pacific.

Voreqe Bainimarama has been banned from Australia and New Zealand since seizing control in a 2006 coup.

His announcement of talks with Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping comes a week after his unveiling of plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month when he is in Moscow for the Rugby Sevens World Cup.

"I have been invited to visit China late this month to meet with the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping," Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun from France.

The self-appointed prime minister has previously said he wanted to ditch traditional ties with regional powerhouses Australia and New Zealand and align his nation with China.

He said the Chinese understood the reforms he had been trying to implement before a return to democratic elections scheduled for next year.

In the continuing stand-off at a regional diplomatic level, Australia last year agreed to restore full diplomatic ties with Fiji, but Fiji has refused to endorse Australia's preferred choice for high commissioner.