China To Increase Influence in Fiji?
At the time of the last Fijian coup, I speculated that China may turn out to be its only beneficiary.
Coup leader Bainimarama was trained in China. His coup has benefited elements of the Fijian left and has also been supported by the Communist Party of Australia.
Certainly China seems set to use Fiji's current political isolation to expand its influence in the country.
From the Fiji Times Online
The interim government has agreed to borrow money from China to fund priority projects.
Interim Prime Minister Commander Voreqe Bainimarama told a Cabinet meeting yesterday the loans would be obtained at a low interest rate.
''Such loans would be at very low interest rate of around 2 per cent and terms of up to 20 years, with a grace period initially with possibilities that loans extended could later be turned into grants on application and on case by case basis,'' Commander Bainimarama said.
Some of the priority areas the loan would cover includes upgrading of rural roads, maritime transportation, provision of low cost housing for squatters, repairing of water supply problems and construction of slipways and ship repair facilities.
Other sectors will be considered based on submissions from relevant ministries.
Commander Bainimarama said China had set aside about US$600million for Pacific island countries in the form of soft loans.