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Fiji’s chief says he hopes to work with China in upgrading his nation’s shipyards and ports

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Fiji’s chief says that after assembly with China‘s President Xi Jinping, he hopes to collaborate with China on upgrading his nation’s shipyards and ports.

Sitiveni Rabuka made the remarks to lawmakers in Parliament on Wednesday.

Rabuka is mostly considered as leaning much less towards China than his predecessor Frank Bainimarama, and in a go to to Australia final month, Rabuka emphasised he was “extra snug coping with conventional buddies” corresponding to Australia.

However in his Wednesday remarks, Rabuka highlighted the financial ties his small South Pacific island nation has cast with China over 50 years of diplomatic relations.

Rabuka mentioned that in his assembly with Xi final week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Financial Cooperation convention in San Francisco, he mentioned how China’s help was pivotal to Fiji’s post-COVID-19 financial restoration.

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Rabuka mentioned China’s Belt and Street Initiative aligned with Fiji’s improvement agenda and that China had contributed towards various grants and help packages.

“As we navigate financial challenges, discussions are underway to deal with our debt disaster responsibly,” Rabuka mentioned.

He mentioned a key focus of making sustainable financial development in Fiji was the great improve of infrastructure, notably port services and shipyards.

“I anticipate potential collaboration with China in that endeavor, given China’s globally aggressive shipbuilding,” Rabuka mentioned.

China’s International Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning mentioned at a every day briefing that China and Fiji are good buddies and companions, and have beforehand cooperated on infrastructure.

“The purpose is to assist island international locations in making life higher for his or her individuals and attaining improvement and prosperity,” Mao mentioned.

Fiji’s transfer comes as China seems to broaden its affect within the Pacific. Final yr, China fell quick in an formidable try to get 10 small Pacific nations to signal to a sweeping deal protecting all the things from safety to fisheries. The try got here quickly after Solomon Islands signed a safety pact with China, a transfer that raised alarm all through the Pacific.

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