There have been "some concerns on specific issues” from some of the 10 Pacific island nations about the deal that covers free trade, police cooperation and disaster resilience.

Wang Yi was in Fiji to co-host a key meeting with the foreign ministers from the 10 island nations.
Wang Yi was in Fiji to co-host a key meeting with the foreign ministers from the 10 island nations. (AP)

Ten Pacific island nations have rebuffed China's push for a wide-ranging regional security pact amid worries the proposal was designed to pull them into Beijing's orbit.

Talks in Fiji between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and leaders from the small island nations failed to reach an agreement on Monday, in a high-profile diplomatic setback for Beijing.

The proposed pact would see Beijing train Pacific island police, become involved in cybersecurity, expand political ties, conduct sensitive marine mapping and gain greater access to natural resources on land and in the water.

As an enticement, Beijing is offering millions of dollars in financial assistance, the prospect of a potentially lucrative China-Pacific islands free trade agreement and access to China's vast market of 1.4 billion people.

Before the meeting, President Xi Jinping sent a message that China would be "a good brother" to the region and that they shared a "common destiny", according to state broadcaster CCTV.

READ MORE: China looks for security pact in Pacific Island summit

US warns against 'shadowy, vague deals'

In a recent letter to fellow leaders, David Panuelo, the President of the Federated States of Micronesia, warned the offer was "disingenuous" and would "ensure Chinese influence in government" and "economic control" of key industries.

A more soft-spoken public rebuke came after the talks, when leaders said they could not agree to Beijing's proposed "Common Development Vision" due to a lack of regional consensus.

"We would rather deal with our own security issues with China", Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe said, indicating concern about any region-wide pact.

"There are some concerns on some specific issues and we have agreed that these two documents will be discussed afterwards until we have reached an agreement," Chinese ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo told reporters.

Speaking from Suva, Wang made the face-saving announcement that the 10 countries had agreed to memorandums of understanding on China's "Belt and Road" infrastructure initiative.

The two sides will "continue to have ongoing and in-depth discussions and consultations to shape more consensus on cooperation", he said, urging those worried by Beijing's intentions not to be "too anxious and don't be too nervous".

China is offering to radically ramp up its activities in the South Pacific, directly challenging the influence of the United States and its allies in the strategically vital region.

Western powers have bristled against China's move into the region, with the US State Department warning South Pacific nations to be wary of "shadowy, vague deals with little transparency".

Many in the Pacific are uneasy at being thrust to the centre of a geopolitical tussle between China and US allies. Most capitals are keen to maintain amicable ties with China, balancing relations.

READ MORE: China: 'No intention' to build military base at Solomon Islands

Source: AFP