24 Jan 2014

China aid for Fiji polls watched in region, says academic

7:22 am on 24 January 2014

A foreign policy expert says the region will be watching very closely to see what kind of assistance China will offer Fiji for its upcoming elections.

China has confirmed that it will be offering some form of assistance, but a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy says no details have been confirmed, which Auckland University Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley says has already been indicated.

But Mr Hoadley says Chinese aid is often criticised as being secret and erratic with no regard to the costs governments will be burdened with.

"The Chinese are very much getting on the electoral bandwagon which is to their credit. But we want to see specifically, can it be constructive assistance? Will it line up with the normal practices of democracy? So this could be a breakthrough and if the Chinese do this sensitively and constructively it could mean that China will be a welcome new partner in the Pacific Island region. "

An Associate Professor at Auckland University, Stephen Hoadley.