CHINA PLEDGES $11 MILLION IN AID TO TONGA

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Funds for unspecified projects

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March. 4, 2011) – In Tonga, 5.6 million- pa’anga [US$3 million] in aid has been promised to Tonga under a new agreement between the Tonga Government and the Government of the People's Republic of China that was signed in Nuku'alofa today.

Under the agreement for Economic and Technical Cooperation, the aid funds amounting to RMB 20 million- paꞌanga [US$11 million] may be used for projects that are yet to be agreed upon by both governments.

The Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Tonga, H.E Mr. Wang Donghua, signed the Agreement of Economic and Technical Cooperation on behalf of their respective governments this morning.

His Excellency, Mr. Wang Donghua said that his country valued the friendship with Tonga and that, "China has provided Tonga with a grant and hopes it will benefit the Tongan people".

Lord Tu'ivakano thanked the Ambassador and said that the grants were given to Tonga due to a journey of King George Tupou V to Beijing, and were offered for economic development.

"There are projects which this grant can be used for and it is needed," he said. However, they had not yet decided which projects would receive funding under the agreement.

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today said that Tonga's Ministry of Finance and National Planning and the China Development Bank would handle the disbursement procedures.

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