Report – By Rachel Reeves on Rarotonga
Chinese vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai flatly denied rumours that China intends to establish a military base in Fiji.
Tiankai met with Cook Islands and New Zealand media at Edgewater on Thursday night.
In response to questions about whether China intends to step up its military presence in Fiji, Tiankai was clear that his government is “certainly not considering” sending its military into the Pacific.
He says his government has friendly relations with Fiji, but does not intend to interfere in the country’s domestic affairs, which are “up to the people of Fiji to decide”.
“What we are doing is to help the country, the people there, to achieve their development.”
From 2006, China’s aid to Fiji has jumped to over $100 million – over 150 times what it was before the coup.
Rachel Reeves is political reporter of the Cook Islands News.