Fiji Times, Tues 23 Jan – The recent criticism of China’s aid to Pacific Island countries by Australia has made Beijing angry. They responded saying that they will continue with their assistance to Pacific Island countries. The comments by Australia’s Minister for International Development were also argued by Pacific Island countries and some in Australia as well (Article by Dr Keshmeer Makun who teaches at Fiji National University’s School of Economics and also specialises in China’s economy.):
“…So why is this criticism? Of course like other big countries in geopolitics they seem to be worried about growing Chinese presence in the Pacific. However, at the same time we got know that Pacific Island countries also need rapid development to catch up. Pacific Island countries need massive infrastructure development. And I think China is just doing that. In giving financial aid, Chinese government puts no political conditions and tries to meet the needs of the receiving countries. Their economic assistance objective is to make win-win cooperation and outcomes. On the grounds of putting “onerous debt burden” on Pacific Island countries — this might be a potential issue but again needs to be looked at on case by case basis or specific countries”.