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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 08:39 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 08:39 | SYDNEY

Chinese aid linkage

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2 June 2010 11:25

Mary Fifita is a Lowy Institute intern working on a Policy Brief series tracking China's aid program in the Pacific.

The Lowy Institute has been following China's development assistance to the Pacific for a few years now. China still regards the details of its aid program as a state secret and this, along with a lack of transparency, can fuel speculation about its motivations for engaging in the region.

Without any reliable official statistics, parsing local media for references to aid projects is one (imperfect) way of estimating the scale of China's aid program. The latest Lowy update covering the period 2009 will be out later this year, but in the meantime, here are a few articles from the last few months relating to China's program in the Pacific:

  • In Fiji, China made a big aid pledge after the 2006 coup. A lot of that money has been held up but one big project that has got off the ground is  the Nadarivatu hyro dam. This blog post looks at how China implemented the project.
  • One of China's smaller projects in Fiji was the presentation earlier this year to Fiji's Ministry of Primary Industries of a gift of 1200 tonnes of fertiliser to assist the island's agricultural production after it was devastated by Cyclone Mick.
  • China is building a six-story multi-million Tala government office complex in Samoa.
  • Debt from Chinese soft loans is a growing concern in some Pacific countries. The Cook Islands has already had its credit rating downgraded in part because of its loans from China, and Helen Greig reports that the Cook's Finance Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, will no longer approve a planned $37.5 million (presumably NZ$) Chinese soft loan for Rarotonga road and water upgrades due to overburdened debt and unsatisfactory past projects.
  • President Manny Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia signed an agreement with China worth $2.1 million (presumably US$) to repair a passenger-cargo ship, Chief Mailo. This seems to be an on-going project which was mentioned in media reports from 2009, however, it could possibly be part of a US$3.5 million discretionary grant to the FSM Government to assist with reforms in Chuuk.

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