24 Feb 2015

Fiji PM praises China for post-coup support

7:58 am on 24 February 2015

Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama has prasied China for its support of his country after 2006.

Xi Jinping and Frank Bainimarama

Xi Jinping and Frank Bainimarama Photo: supplied

He says China stayed by Fiji's side because it recognised what was being done was for the long-term benefit of the Fijian people.

The coup, led by Mr Bainimarama in 2006, resulted in several countries imposing sanctions on Fiji and its suspension from the Commonwealth and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Mr Bainimarama, who was speaking at Chinese New Year celebrations in Suva, says Fiji's relationship with China reached new heights with last year's visit by the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

He says the annual volume of trade between China and Fiji has reached 340 million US dollars, and is growing on current figures by 12 per cent a year.

Mr Bainimarama says Fiji is determined to increase tourist numbers from China which have grown seven-fold over the past six years.

He said China has done a huge amount to improve Fiji's infrastructure, including roads, public housing, hydroelectric and solar projects and hospitals.

The prime minister also thanked the descendants of early Chinese settlers in Fiji for their contribution to Fiji's development.