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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Tonga's indebtedness to China highlighted in NZ talks

Tonga's indebtedness to China was highlighted as the country's Prime Minister visited Auckland Thursday.

Akilisi Pohiva said his country is indebted to the Peoples' Republic with them even constructing a $40 million (US$28 million) building next to his office in Nuku'alofa.

And he's making no apologies for taking money from China.

“Tonga will not refuse to accept any assistance from any country, including China. We have a huge loan from China.”

The loan is around US$140 million.

Pohiva met with John Key who said afterwards the message to indebted Pacific nations is always the same from this country.

“It's not for us to dictate to them. The one thing we do say to our Pacific friends is that if you take a loan from China or any other country just be aware that New Zealand is not going to repay that loan. You are responsible for that.”

Pohiva said his country's been at the centre of a tug of war between China and New Zealand for four years, over a plane that's been sitting on the tarmac in Nuku'alofa because it doesn't have a safety certificate.

New Zealand three years ago stopped more than $10 million (US$7 million) worth of tourism aid to the Kingdom while it continued to use the MA60 plane which has a dodgy safety record.

The plane was grounded and Pohiva said they're still waiting.

“We are still waiting for China to fix the problem and I hope New Zealand supports our attempt to get the aircraft operating as soon as possible,” he said.


Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 5:12 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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