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China's Aid to South Pacific Rises


FILE - A construction crew works on a site where a new hospital is planned, in Navua, Fiji. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)

FILE - A construction crew works on a site where a new hospital is planned, in Navua, Fiji. (AP Photo/Nick Perry)


A new report says China has provided South Pacific countries with financial assistance worth more than a billion dollars in 10 years. The Lowy Institute for International Policy based in Sydney, Australia, did a report on China’s aid program. It is the first comprehensive study of China’s growing aid program for the South Pacific.

The report says China is likely to become the region's third-biggest donor after Australia and the United States. The Institute says the aid seems mostly to be a good deed by a responsible global citizen. It also says the financial assistance might be a way to ease tensions.

Researchers say a growth in new Chinese companies and an increase of Chinese migrants to South Pacific islands have caused tensions.

Chinese fishing and mining operations are causing special concern among island communities. The largest Chinese investment project in the region is the $1.6 billion Ramu Nickel mine in Papua New Guinea. It is disputed because of concerns about its effect on the environment. But China hopes to present a more positive image of itself as a major aid donor.

The Lowy Institute looked at information from 500 sources, including budgets, business documents and government statements. It is the first major study on the subject.

Since 2006, China alone has provided $1.4 billion in foreign aid to the South Pacific region. Australia remains the largest donor, providing almost $7 billion over the last 10 years.

China has diplomatic relations with eight South Pacific island nations: the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Phil Mercer wrote this story from Sydney, Australia. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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Words in This Story

regionn. a part of a country, of the world, etc., that is different or separate from other parts in some way

donorn. a person or group that gives something (such as money, food, or clothes) in order to help a person or organization

positiveadj. good or useful

comprehensive - adj. including many, most, or all things

deedn. something that is done: an act or action

globaladj. involving the entire world

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