Chinese aid gives a lift to Pacific island countries

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China has always been supportive of Pacific island countries, serving as an important development partner for their needs, experts say.

Chinese aid gives a lift to Pacific island countries

China has always been supportive of Pacific island countries, serving as an important development partner for their needs, experts say.

China handed over a new hospital in the province of Enga to the government of Papua New Guinea on June 20 which will help improve medical services for local people. China's Belt and Road Initiative programs have brought varied tangible fruits to people on these islands.

Addressing the handover ceremony in the Engan capital, Wabag, PNG Prime Minister James Marape thanked China for its support for the high-quality project, saying the PNG government is willing to deepen collaboration with China in all areas, according to a report by Xinhua.

Peter Ipatas, governor of Enga Province, said it was a dream for the people of Enga and PNG to have a medical center with advanced technologies, and thanks to China's help the dream had come true.

China's ambassador to PNG, Zeng Fanhua, called the project the latest outcome of bilateral collaboration in health and said such collaboration demonstrates friendship as well as mutual support and trust.

Inia Batikoto Seruiratu, Fiji's minister for defense, national security and policing, said recently that China is a "key development partner" in the Pacific. Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, he said: "That is a known fact, and that is accepted as well in the region."

The Pacific islands region respects what China has done in terms of cooperation.

Speaking of the creation of fear about the region through disinformation and misinformation, Seruiratu said: "We all have the sovereign right to make our own decisions."

Bringing prosperity

China is bringing prosperity to some of the world's most disadvantaged people, be it through providing scholarships, building hospitals and schools, or other vital infrastructure, observers say.
Leon Perera, chairman of Spire Research and Consulting in Singapore, said Pacific island states are benefiting from closer relations with China. "A point of reference would be how China has deepened ties with African states; Central Asian states through the Belt and Road Initiative; and other regional states such as Laos," he told China Daily.

Ying Zhu, director of the Australian Centre for Asian Business at the University of South Australia, said China wants to help Pacific island countries to develop their economies.

"This means building the infrastructure needed to bring goods to markets and offering loans. China also helps in social development such as education and health. …This is where the Belt and Road Initiative is so important."

Perera said one area of infrastructure "clearly on the minds of Pacific island leaders" involves coastal defenses against sea-level rise due to climate change.

Chinese tourists have been a boon to many countries worldwide, he said, and China has provided COVID-19 support such as vaccines.

Among other areas, China can help provide financial support and expertise to Pacific island governments in the field of security, as was seen in the recently announced China-Solomon Islands security pact, he said.


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