China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the South Pacific this week with a delegation of 20 people, in an indication of Beijing’s increasing military and diplomatic presence in that region.

Although the U.S. has always been the region’s dominant power, China has been making inroads with Solomon Islands, a nation located less than 2,000 km (1,200 mi) from Australia. Australia is concerned that Penny Wong, the new Foreign Minister, will be heading to Fiji just one week after her Labor Party won the national elections.

Here’s a look at Wang and the likely outcomes of his tour.

WHERE IS WANG HELD?

On a 10-day journey, Wang will stop in Fiji, Samoa and Fiji.

These visits highlight China’s desire to engage with the region. China has historically maintained close ties with its major rivals, Australia and the United States. China has been engaged in a long-running struggle for influence over Taiwan. China regards Taiwan as its territory. It opposes any foreign interaction that treats Taiwan as independent and autonomous. However, Taiwan has four formal diplomatic allies in the South Pacific.

A stronger Chinese presence in South Pacific could allow its naval forces to make port visits and perhaps put personnel and equipment on a base there. This would make it difficult for the U.S. to plan its defense strategy, especially considering plans for contingency in case of a Chinese move towards Taiwan. Japan and other allies would be drawn in.

WHAT’S BEHIND THE NEW DIPLOMATIC PUSH?

China’s leader Xi Jinping has increased its diplomatic and foreign economic power through the Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to connect East Asia and Europe through ports, railways and other infrastructure.

Mixed results were seen with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, client states, falling in deep debt. Meanwhile, developed countries cited national security reasons in banning Chinese government-backed telecoms companies like Huawei. However, the South Pacific remains open to Chinese advances at low costs and potential high rewards.

China has largely remained silent about Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. Its top leaders have not left the country for more than two years despite strict anti-COVID policies and worsening relations with the U.S. and Canada. A victory in foreign policy would cement Xi’s authority, and fend off any criticism of his handling the pandemic or its economic consequences.

WHAT IS THE PACT BETWEEN CHINA & SOLOMON ISLANDS?

China could send security forces to Solomons upon request from its government for peacekeeping duties. It could also allow Chinese navy vessels to visit the islands to replenish supplies and offer recreation to sailors.

The United States stated that it would take unspecified actions against the Solomon Islands if China’s agreement poses a threat for U.S. interests or those of its allies.

WHAT IS AUSTRALIA’S PRIMARY CONCERN?

Australia, which is concerned about China’s expansion in the Pacific, has asked Beijing to lift trade sanctions to end their bilateral relationship.

China’s premier wrote a congratulatory note to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after his victory in the election. This was widely interpreted as an end to Beijing’s two year ban on high-ranking government contacts with Australia. Premier Li Keqiang stated that China was open to working with Australia to improve relations. These ties plummeted after Australia passed legislation aimed at Chinese influence in Australian elections.

China has retaliated by imposing a number of trade barriers to Australia’s exports in recent years. These include barricades and restrictions on official and unofficial trade.

CHINA HAS WHAT OTHER PLANS IN THIS REGION?

According to The Associated Press, China wants to sign an agreement with 10 Pacific countries that covers everything from security to fishing.