The visit of the People’s Republic of China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has caused quite a stir in the region.
It’s understood the Chinese Ministerial visit to the region is to strengthen relations with the ten pacific nations that have diplomatic ties with China.
Last week Minister Wang Yi visited Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga and while in Samoa signed a cooperation agreement with the Samoan government.
Since then, international media including New Zealand media reports that Niue will be the next Pacific country to sign cooperation agreements with the Peoples Republic of China has caused quite a stir. These reports seem to have upset many Niueans on the island and those living abroad with many taking to social media to express their concerns.
Premier Dalton Tagealagi told BCN News that Niue has not signed any new agreements with China but that government officials are working on a draft vision presented by the Chinese delegation in a five-year plan.
“No, we haven’t signed anything apart from when we signed our diplomatic ties. If you’re asking if Niue has signed any recent documents no, we haven’t.
“I think the discussions going on at the moment has much to do with the vision the Chinese government has for the ten Pacific nations that have diplomatic ties with them, and we are one of them.
“Our officials are working with them to ensure that vision does not overlap or contradict some of our plans that we already have in place in the region,” said Premier Tagelagi.
This vision is expressed in a paper being considered by the ten Pacific nations with diplomatic ties with China called the “China-Pacific Island Countries Five-Year Action Plan on Common Development 2022 – 2026”.
The five-year plan contains 8 key articles including politics and security, strategic coordination, economic cooperation, cooperation on fighting covid 19 and promoting health, society, and culture, capacity building, addressing climate change, and multilateral cooperation.
Premier Tagelagi said that the New Zealand government and Niue government do speak often on matters relating to China’s interest in Niue and he wants to assure the people of Niue that no new agreement was signed.
“For our people, I want to say, please understand that we signed diplomatic ties with China in 2007, and from then until now, we don’t have any joint commitment apart from that diplomatic agreement”.
Premier Tagelagi said that Niue’s relationship with China is different from other Pacific nations because we don’t have any loans from the Chinese government.
However, he said that Niue is grateful for the continuous development support from the People’s Republic of China and dialogue will continue particularly with the delayed roading project.
“China has been supporting us just like all the other diplomatic partners. There are sixteen of them now and we are about to sign with Israel and the Philippines.
“It is not only China that is supporting us annually. We have Korea, we have India and others but in different aspects, such as Japan as well. These are all our donor partners, and we treat them all the same”.