China has provided US$1.08 million as an annual funding contribution to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat under the China – Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund.
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna, welcomed the funding contribution from Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Fiji Qian Bo.
“The People’s Republic of China continues to be a long standing and important Forum Dialogue and development partner, to our Blue Pacific region,” said Mr Puna.
“Over 80 per cent of China’s funding contribution will support the Pacific Trade and Invest China office to work with the private sector to develop, grow and promote business in the region by facilitating export opportunities with buyers and attracting foreign direct investments.”
China’s funding will also be used to drive awareness and support implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent that was endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in July 2022.
This strategy will frame our collective action and engagement and will capture the collective vision and priorities of Pacific leaders for the next three decades.
Mr Puna welcomed China’s support for the 2050 Strategy as the foundation upon which the collective partnerships are brokered and strengthened to progress the achievement of agreed regional priorities.
China has been a Forum Dialogue Partner of the Pacific Islands Forum since 1990. The China – Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund was established in 2000 to support bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, tourism, and personnel exchange.
The funding is an increase from previous years showing China’s intent to be a closer ally in the Pacific. In contrast, the United States announced in July this year that a special envoy will be appointed to work the Forum Secretariat.
The recent increase in funding to the Forum and the region from both US and China is in light of the growing geopolitical attention in the region.
The US has ramped up efforts to open diplomatic missions even in the smallest of the nations while China has continued with its aids, grants and loans.
Both nations have said they were the Pacific’s development partners.