5 Apr 2006

China announces US$370 Pacific aid package

8:22 pm on 5 April 2006

China's Premier Wen Jiabao has announced a new package of aid to Pacific countries including loans for industry development, training programmes and anti-malaria medicines.

Mr Wen made the announcement at the first China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Fiji.

He says China will provide 370 million US dollars of preferential loans to island countries in the next three years.

The funds are to boost cooperation in areas including resources development, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism.

He says China will give zero tariff treatment to the majority of exports to China from the least developed countries in the region that have diplomatic ties with China, rather than Taiwan.

Mr Wen is the first Chinese premier to visit the Pacific Islands and he says the fostering of relations with the region is not a matter of political expediency.