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China's Aid Benefits the Pacific Island Countries
2018/01/19

China's Aid Benefits the Pacific Island Countries

H.E. Amb. Cheng Jingye

The recent allegations made by the Australian Minister for International Development about China's aid to the Pacific Island countries are both groundless and irresponsible. Those comments are naturally disputed by countries such as Samoa, PNG and Fiji, and even cause quite some criticism in Australia.

As the largest developing country in the world, China has been all along committed to providing all possible assistance to other developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation. This is a key demonstration of China's role as a responsible major power.

In providing foreign aid, the Chinese government always attaches no political strings, and fully respects the wishes and needs of the recipient countries. Moreover, our assistance aims to produce win-win outcomes. In the meantime, China often bears in mind the debt-paying ability and solvency of recipient countries, avoiding causing too much debt burden to recipient countries. All relevant projects have been conducted with careful feasibility study and market research, so that they deliver the desired economic and social benefits.

Based on the above-mentioned principles and considerations, China has provided the Pacific Island countries with large amount of aid over the years. Firstly, China supports these countries with their poverty reduction and livelihood improvement, which includes sending agricultural experts and technical groups, building demonstration farms, building or refurbishing schools, sending medical groups, and building sports stadiums. Secondly, China helps the Island countries build infrastructures, including roads, bridges, ports and power plants. Thirdly, China actively carries out human resources training programs for the Pacific Island countries. China also supports the Pacific Plan aiming at promoting regional cooperation, endorsed by Pacific Island countries.

It is evident that China's aid has significantly promote economic and social development of these countries and delivered tangible benefits to the local people, which has been widely welcomed and fully appreciated by the governments and people of these countries. At the opening ceremony of the China-aided Stinson Parade Bridge and Vatuwaqa Bridge recently, Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama referred China as "Fiji's staunch cooperation partner and sincere friend". The PIF Chair Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi told the media this week, "China comes to our assistance on the basis of our requests, on what we know is suitable for Samoa." In August 2017, at the completion handover ceremony for the Project of Rehabilitation and Extension of Luganville Main Wharf, Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai said, "The Vanuatu–China relations are broadening and deepening. Our strategic partnership with China has brought us many benefits and is far from exhausting its potential."

No one knows better than the people and governments of the Pacific Island countries on whether China's assistance is productive or not. We urge relevant Australian official and some of the media to abandon bias, bigotry and narrow mindset, stop pointing fingers at and making irresponsible remarks on China's sincere assistance to the Pacific Island countries.

As General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress, "China will increase assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and do its part to reduce the North-South development gap." China will provide the Pacific Island countries with necessary support and assistance as always, and pursue common development with them jointly. We are also happy to see Australia earnestly fulfill its commitments to render assistance to the Pacific Island countries.

(The article was published on the Australian Financial Review)

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