1 May 2006

Details emerge of Tonga's requests for Chinese loans

7:58 am on 1 May 2006

Tonga's government is seeking a loan of nearly three million US dollars from China to buy back the Shoreline's electricity assets

The Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, asked the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiaobao, for the money during a China-Pacific conference held in Fiji early last month.

The on- line news site, Matangi Tonga, says The loan would form part of a complex multi-million dollar proposal under negotiation by the two countries.

The aid package for Tonga includes millions of dollar in grants, and soft loans, and millions more for the construction of airports, school and a wharf.

There is a Special Grant to balance Tonga's forthcoming budget , an unspecified grant for the construction of a Convention Centre, a soft loan for the refurbishing of the Dateline Hotel - and for the purchasing of new vehicles for the Pacific Forum Meeting to be held in Nuku'alofa later this year.

The Chinese have also agreed to extend and upgrade the Fua'amotu International Airport, and to either extend or relocate the Vava'u airport, and to build a new wharf for Vava'u.