5 Sep 2018

Chinese official called 'insolent' by Nauru president

4:32 pm on 5 September 2018

A Chinese official who reportedly stormed out of a meeting of Pacific Island Forum leaders in Nauru, has been accused of trying to bully Forum members.

Nauru President Baron Waqa

Nauru President Baron Waqa Photo: supplied

Nauru's President and Forum Chair, Baron Waqa, said the official attended a meeting of leaders on Tuesday.

Mr Waqa said while there, he interrupted a speech from the Tuvalu Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga.

He said the Chinese official may have felt he could bully members as a representative of a big country.

"The Chinese demanded to be heard when the Prime Minister was about to speak and other ministers were given the priority to speak and he insisted and was very insolent about it and created a big fuss and held up the meeting of leaders for a good number of minutes."

Mr Waqa said while Nauru did not have diplomatic relations with China, his country still respected them and they were a part of the Forum.

The Secretary-General of the Forum Secretariat, Meg Taylor, said Pacific leaders have called for senior level officials to be attending dialogue meetings so that the Forum knew that they were a part of the political process back in their own countries.

Ms Taylor said the Secretariat needs to look at the processes around protocol for such meetings.