“There are no strings attached to our assistance to Niue”
This is the comment of China’s Ambassador to New Zealand, Niue and the Cook Islands Wu Xi when asked by BCN News.
The Ambassador told BCN News that the assistance China offers to developing countries are out of their sincerity.
The Chinese government has confirmed that the funding of the Niue Road rehabilitation project is a grant however would not reveal how much it costs.
The design plan will include 134 new streetlights, 46.1 kilometers slurry sealed road, around 2 kilometers of safety barriers, 2.7 kilometers of new footpaths from Alofi to Airport, 92 new safety designs, village traffic calming using speed bumps and lane narrowing.
The project will be undertaken by the China Railway Group. The Chinese Ambassador confirmed that this is part of China’s Belt and Road initiative.
“It is a grant and we signed the agreement to upgrade the ring road in Niue last year and ever since then the Chinese side are working closely with the Niue side. We have dispatched several groups of experts to do a field inspection together the necessary data to make the preparation and the preparation work is going on smoothly. There is an old saying in China that if a country wants to prosper, the infrastructure is necessary so the road is necessary for the further development of Niue and we hope that through this project we will contribute to the economic and social development in Niue as well as improve the livelihood of the people in Niue. “
The Chinese government recently provided $33,000 to the Niue government which was confirmed to BCN News by Premier Sir Toke Talagi.
The Chinese government also send their national symphony orchestra to perform in Niue over the weekend for the 45th Constitution celebrations.
“There is absolutely no strings attached to our assistance , one of the basic principles of China’s foreign policy is no interference in internal affairs of any other country and the assistance we offer to the developing countries are out of our sincerity and I think there is a similarity in cultural traditions between China and Niue. I have been talking with many Niuean people when I visited Niue and they told me that they are so happy that they are able to offer help to others and they do not expect any return from others so China and Niue share the same cultural traditions and values. We want to help others when we prosper and we want others to prosper with us and in that way the world will be a better place to live in and this is a reflection of the initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping to promote a community of shared future for all mankind.”
China and Niue have shared 12 years of diplomatic relations.
According to Australian Think Tank Lowy Institute’s Pacific aid data as of 2017, China is the second largest donor to Niue with a total of $13.86 million USD. New Zealand remains the largest donor to Niue with a total aid of $23.25 million USD as of 2017.
Xi says China will have more cultural exchanges with Niue and to promote mutual understanding and friendship between the people.
She added cultural exchanges are also part of the Belt and road Initiative as well as the 2019 China Pacific Tourism year.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was announced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping. BRI promotes closer ties between countries through development led trade growth. This requires a massive infrastructure construction programme complemented by bilateral commitments covering trade and investment.
BRI is also regarded as a significant geostrategic initiative, which reflects China’s changing status as an economic and military power.