17 Jan 2018

China hits back at Canberra over Pacific aid

8:34 pm on 17 January 2018

China has hit back at Australia's criticism of its foreign aid to the Pacific, saying it will continue with such support.

Embassy of China, in New Zealand

Embassy of China, in New Zealand Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Last week Australia's International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells told the Australian newspaper China was constructing "useless buildings" and "roads to nowhere" in the region.

She also said she was concerned that some Pacific countries were taking on debts from China they could not afford to repay.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, told journalists in Beijing they were groundless accusations against China borne out of reluctance to see Pacific islands realise independent and sustainable development.

"Frankly speaking, something might be wrong with the mindset of the person who said those things," he said.

He says no strings are attached to assistance and it's greatly boosted countries' development.

"On the basis of fully respecting the will of the governments and peoples of the Pacific Islands countries and their development needs, China has been assisting them within its capabilities with no political strings attached in particular, and such assistance has greatly boosted their socio-economic development and received warm welcome," said Mr Lu.

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