9 Mar 2006

Chinese influence corrupting government, says Vanuatu opposition leader

4:32 pm on 9 March 2006

The leader of Vanuatu's opposition, Serge Vohor, has accused government leaders and officials of corruption and of letting China exert too much influence on policy.

However Mr Vohor, who is planning a motion of no-confidence in the government, says he would not change the country's One China policy if he got into power.

Mr Vohor was ousted as Prime Minister in late 2004 after switching Vanuatu's diplomatic ties to Taiwan against the wishes of his cabinet.

But the opposition leader says a number of government backbenchers are ready to support the opposition's motion.

He says the government's mismanagement of key institutions is damaging Vanuatu's economy.

"Corruption is too big in this country with this present government, so we need to change. You know the Chinese, through its ambassador, they have a big influence, corrupt the government officials and ministers publicly. But even the ombudsman cannot say anything. I mean, I'm very supportive on the One China policy but I'm not supportive that the Chinese government is corrupting our leaders in the government."

Serge Vohor