4 Apr 2006

Security tight in Fiji for arrival of Chinese Premier

4:27 pm on 4 April 2006

Security has been stepped up at Fiji's Nadi International Airport and the nearby resort island of Denarau , for the arrival shortly of the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao.

Mr Wen, who is accompanied by a delegation of more than 200, will be in Fiji for the first ever China - Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum.

The prime ministers and other senior ministers of eight Pacific island nations will attend the forum as China seeks to extend its influence in the region by entering into new commercial and political agreements.

But six island countries which recognize Taiwan will not be attending the forum.

Mr Wen will hold talks with the Fiji prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, this evening and sign several co-operation agreements before he is hosted at an official government dinner.

He will leave for New Zealand tomorrow at the end of his meeting with Pacific Island leaders.