China To Provide $2 Billion In Loans To Pacific

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Beijing extends ‘a helping hand for…economic development’

By Ropate Valemei

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 23, 2013) – China will provide $US1billion ($F1.90b) in soft loans and an additional $US1b special loan for infrastructure and construction in the Pacific region.

And according to charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Fiji, Yang Zhaohui, the contributions showed China's sincerity in developing relations and extending a helping hand for the economic development of Pacific island countries.

He made the comment during a recent visit by embassy officials to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat headquarter in Suva to hand over China's annual contribution to the organisation.

Mr Zhaohui said China viewed the PIFS as an important regional organisation.

"China has always been supportive of the Forum Secretariat because it has its own advantages — it is influential, well informed and has many channels for co-operation," he said in a statement.

"As has been the practice for years, I am happy to donate the funds on behalf of the Chinese Government, to show our support for the Forum Secretariat.

"We hope that the funds are utilised in areas most needed by Pacific Island countries so it can best serve their economic and social development and also promote co-operation between China and the Pacific region."

PIFS secretary general Tuiloma Neroni Slade acknowledged the contribution and said China was involved in numerous projects throughout the region from infrastructure development to electrification; trade, tourism and investment.

"This would strengthen the capacity of government officials in the region through short-term training attachments, and the secretariat looks forward to enhancing co-operation and partnerships between China and the island countries," Mr Slade said.

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