Tonga is to this year start repaying a Chinese loan of over US$100 million used to rebuild the capital's central business district after riots almost twelve years ago.
The riots in November 2006 caused the destruction of a significant portion of Nuku'alofa's CBD, following which the government took up a USD$119 million loan for the reconstruction effort.
Repayment had been deferred to this year upon the request of Tonga's government.
This week, prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva said government would start repaying the principal loan with provision in this year's budget.
According to him, government had in the meantime paid around US$16 million in interest.
Mr Pohiva said Tonga would keep on asking China to divert the loan into a grant.