21 Jul 2011

China ready to meet part of Vanuatu budget shortfall

1:42 pm on 21 July 2011

China's Ambassador to Vanuatu says his country is willing to pay part of the 32 million US dollar budget shortfall that Vanuatu's Minister of Foreign Affairs wants Beijing to meet.

While indicating last week that Vanuatu was ready to sign diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the minister, Alfred Carlot, demanded that Beijing help Vanuatu settle his government's ledger.

Vanuatu's Daily Post reports that the ambassador, Cheng Shuping, says China will help pay the debt but only on Beijing's terms.

The terms include ongoing support by Vanuatu for the One China Policy which it has adhered to for three decades.

Mr Cheng says China would not be able to pay the entire amount, describing it as a lot of money at a time when his country is also going through its own financial challenges.

On the Minister's plan to visit Taipei to establish a trade office in the near future, the Ambassador says China opposes such a visit.