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China asks Australia to drop 'cold war attitude'

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand

BEIJING - China has called on Australia to drop its ‘Cold War attitude' to its growing role in the Pacific Islands and recognise that no one country has a sphere of influence in the region.

Lu Kang (AFP)
Lu Kang - China has a "legitimate role" in the Pacific islands region

Commenting on plans by the Australian government to help Papua New Guinea build a naval base, foreign affairs spokesman Lu Kang said China was pursuing "wide-ranging friendly and cooperative ties with the Pacific Island countries".

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said last week that the Pacific islands are like "family", saying he wants to strengthen his country's engagement in the region because this is their home.

However, The Australian newspaper reported that Mr Lu rejected any argument that China does not have a legitimate role in the region.

He said China hoped that the relevant parties can discard out-dated mindsets of Cold War mentality and zero sum games and objectively view China's relations with Pacific countries.

Mr Lu said China's increasing ties with PNG and the Pacific islands were based on its approach of promoting south-south co-operation and were not aimed at targeting any third party.

He said China's goal was to "help the Pacific Island countries realise peace, stability and prosperity".


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Arthur Williams

There are so many reports on China’s policy towards development projects all over the world.

Only yesterday I read a BBC report on its involvement in Africa. at

"The total amount of external debt for the (African) continent is estimated at $417 billion (only!). Around 20% of African government external debt is owed to China, says the Jubilee Debt Campaign, a charity which campaigns for the cancellation of poor countries' debt.

"This makes China the largest single creditor nation, with combined state and commercial loans estimated to have been $132 billion between 2006 and 2017.

"35% of African debt is held by multilateral institutions such as the World Bank. 32% owed to private lenders...."

So China is not the big spender-lender to Africa as many thought. I think perhaps more should be made of the fact that 32% is from private lenders.

Many people might say it is better to owe to another nation than an investment bank like Goldman Sacks whose deal with debt laden Greek is no squeaky clean example of investment bankers' activities.

Gustavo Piga a Professor of economics at Rome University said, “In secret deals, intermediaries have the upper hand and use it to squeeze taxpayers. The bargaining power is in investment banks’ hands.”
( ‘Goldman Secret Greece Loan Shows Two Sinners as Client Unravels')

The BBC report went on to say: "Fewer strings attached?
Compared to institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and Paris Club (a group of 22 creditor nations not including China,) loans from China are seen by some as much quicker, cheaper, and come with fewer strings attached.

"The United States (unsurprisingly) in particular has been highly critical of China's approach. Earlier this year, ahead of a visit to Africa, the then US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said China's lending policy to Africa "encouraged dependency, utilised corrupt deals and endangered its natural resources."

"China's response was forthright. Its ambassador in South Africa, Lin Songtian, said China was proud of its influence in Africa and that Mr Tillerson's comments were part of a smear campaign by the United States...,"

Australia should accept it is tiny compared to China and should never get involved in trying to upstage it.

If Oz still wants to continue to provide aid projects to such a resource rich nation as PNG that has failed its citizens then those funds should, as suggested in a previous article here, be suitably targeted at improvements in villagers’ lives with better education and health micro projects.

The downside of all international aid projects though is that it too often allows the receiving nation’s corrupt elites to use the nations own funds for Apecesque projects or personal graft.

I think we should face the fact that in years to come the 21st century will said to have been the ‘Chinese Century’.

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