China finishes 'successful' meeting with Fiji as Nanaia Mahuta plans meeting in Solomon Islands following signing of controversial security deal

China's Foreign Minister has just finished his meeting with Fiji's Prime Minister, calling it a "success".

But a sweeping region-wide security and economic deal with multiple Pacific nations has been shelved with several island nations expressing concern.

China's seeking to reshape the regional order and get deals on everything from policing to fisheries. 

China's chief negotiator Wang Yi received a red carpet welcome in Suva, Fiji. Although there were fist pumps, elbow bumps, and the exchange of gifts, China wants more.

Fiji's prime minister welcomed the senior diplomat to the country.

"Minister Wang Yi and I had an excellent discussion on how Fiji and China can strengthen our partnership," said Frank Bainimarama.

The two countries have agreed to expand cooperation in economic development, trade, agriculture, tourism, civil aviation, education, law enforcement, and emergency management. 

"We also discussed the importance of combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, opportunities to expand sustainable ocean management in the Pacific, and ways we help Fijian exporters land more of their high-quality products and produce in the Chinese market," Bainimarama added.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta is making a move and wants a meeting with her counterpart in the Solomons, where a controversial security deal's been signed.

"Once our diaries can align and travel arrangements allow, I intend to travel to the Solomons," she said.

"I don't think it's a matter of trying to stop the deal - that's a matter for the Solomons and China."

But Mahuta will be trying to work out what extra New Zealand can offer. 

"To try and understand where are the gaps that the Solomons sees need to be filled."

But Dr Anna Powles, a senior lecturer in international security at Massey University, said Mahuta should've travelled there already.

"Ideally, Minister Mahuta would have travelled there before now, because the question is raised, what is she hoping to achieve at this point in time?"

She added that there are options.

"For instance, New Zealand could offer to provide security assistance for the Pacific Games which will be held in Honiara."

Chinese politics expert Professor Anne-Marie Brady said that the New Zealand Government does move slower than other countries.

"Unfortunately, our Government does move slowly and same with the Australians, and our defence forces are simply not equipped for what we need to do now which is to be able to defend our own massive maritime territory."

China said its tour is about promoting peace and mutual prosperity, but Professor Brady said it's about boosting China's military presence in the region - which could have serious implications.  

"That could be used to blockade and cut off Australia, New Zealand, France, and the United States from defending the Pacific."

Multiple bilateral deals have been confirmed or are being worked on. There's the security agreement in the Solomons, Samoa has pledged greater economic and technical cooperation, Kiribati has formalised 10 agreements, including economic development and climate change, and Niue is "deepening bilateral cooperation" with China, according to state media.

But analysts say New Zealand's history in the Pacific with policing and security will matter. 

"I don't think Australia and New Zealand are at risk of being pushed out of that if they can continue to maintain those solid relationships which have been there for a long time," said Dr Jessica Collins, a Pacific researcher at Lowy Institute.

But all agree - especially with China's foreign minister due in Tonga tomorrow - Australia and New Zealand need to respond with more urgency.