A flurry of diplomatic activity by Beijing is under way in the South Pacific as the dust settles on American President Joe Biden’s efforts to strengthen Asian alliances. State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting eight island nations in 10 days in a trip aimed at improving economic and security ties. But the tour is being viewed with anxiety by the region’s long-time power brokers, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, which contend growing Chinese influence is a threat to peace and stability. Paradoxically, China has voiced the same argument about Washington’s strategy, which it has labelled divisive and aimed at containing and isolating. Wang’s first stop was the Solomon Islands, which has signed a security agreement with China that was objected to by Washington, Canberra, Wellington and Tokyo. They worry that it could give China a military foothold in the Pacific, a claim dismissed by Chinese and Solomons officials, who contend it is about domestic policing. The suspicion is likely to follow Wang throughout his trip, which also takes in Fiji, where he will hold his second-ever forum with South Pacific counterparts Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and East Timor. The visit is in tandem with a drive to boost ties in Latin America, another region the US considers part of its sphere of influence. Wang promoted President Xi Jinping’s proposed “Global Security Initiative” earlier this month in phone calls with counterparts from Uruguay, Nicaragua and Ecuador. Although how it will be implemented is unclear, at its core are cooperation, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in domestic affairs of other countries. Those fundamentals are seemingly absent from the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, which aims to counter Beijing’s rising influence by strengthening alliances, isolating it from supply chains and using military deterrence. That was apparent from the statements and plans unveiled in Japan and South Korea and at a recent summit in Washington of eight Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders. His new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity launched in Tokyo has breaking Chinese trade and investment links at its core. The subdued and ambiguous statement at the end of a summit of leaders of the loose security alliance known as the Quad proved the difficulty of finding common ground; India’s ties to Russia meant only oblique criticism of the war in Ukraine. China’s Wang Yi urges UN rights envoy to ‘clarify misinformation’ Nations cannot be faulted for visiting allies and striking agreements. But the environment of mistrust and suspicion the US is creating towards Beijing is increasing tensions and risks. The diplomacy being so feverishly engaged in is glaringly absent from their own relations.