China is negotiating security deals with two further Pacific nations following its agreement with the Solomon Islands last month, the Financial Times newspaper reported, citing officials in the US and allied countries.
Beijing’s talks with Kiribati are the most advanced, the newspaper said, adding that China was discussing a pact with at least one other Pacific country.
The agreements would cover much the same ground as the deal with the Solomon Islands, it said, citing an intelligence official from a US ally.
China has had Kiribati, which switched its diplomatic allegiance to Beijing from Taiwan in 2019, in its sights for years, it said.
China’s foreign ministry did not respond to the FT’s requests for comment.
Australia and the US have publicly voiced their objections to the agreement between China and the Solomon Islands.
Although a final version of the document has not been made public, a draft version released in March showed Chinese military warships were on track to be allowed a safe harbor just 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) from the Australian coastline.
President Joe Biden is currently on a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan, where he is meeting with regional leaders to, among other objectives, build support for countering security threats posed by China.