CHINA DECLINES AID PARTNERSHIP IN PACIFIC

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Forum countries bound by 2009 agreement

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Sept. 8, 2011) – China has told members of the Pacific Islands Forum it is not interested in coordinating its development aid with other member nations.

At post-forum dialogue meetings, which involved delegations from Europe, India and the United States, China was asked whether it was prepared to coordinate financial support to the region.

But the chairman of the forum, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, said senior Chinese delegates "made it clear" they did not want to be bound by the Cairns Compact.

Pacific leaders agreed to the Cairns Compact at the 2009 Pacific Islands Forum. It requires forum countries to adhere to new review and reporting processes.

Low interest loans and payments from China have been identified as a major factor in putting island nations like Tonga into debt.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio reports separately that the top United States diplomat for the Pacific region - Assistant US Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell - says China should reveal its agenda in the Pacific as its aggressive diplomatic and financial activities continue to grow in the region. Campbell, who led a large U.S. contingent to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Auckland last week, said the U.S. wants to work with China in providing support for developing Pacific island nations.]

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