13 Jun 2005

Academic says Pacific countries need to curb China's growing influence in the region

7:40 pm on 13 June 2005

An emeritus professor of the University of the South Pacific says Pacific countries need to curb China's increasing influence in the region.

Professor Ron Crocombe says China has one of the largest spy networks in operation, but its impact is unknown.

He says aid from China is largely focussed on buying the support of government politicians who are pro-China.

And Professor Crocombe says China has focused its aid spending on key developments and investments.

"The public popularity projects, and particularly sports stadiums. Sports stadiums, parliament buildings, the government buildings in Samoa, and y'know, you've got two. So Samoa's in a position now, and several other countries are, where their big prestige buildings are monuments to China and not to Samoa."

Professor Crocombe says China is making other strategic moves by funding projects for the military and the police in the region.