Concern at Chinese Influence in Cook Islands

From Cook Island News Online

29 March: Opposition deputy-leader Teina Bishop says he is opposed to the Cook Islands taking any more aid money from China.

“In my opinion it should be stopped. We already have two monuments on the island built by them. Soon you won’t have to go to China to see Beijing,” he says.

He says the country is grateful for the courthouse and police station but government should stop it there.

While Bishop commends the recent efforts of foreign affairs minister Wilkie Rasmussen in securing Chinese funding for the proposed multi-purpose sports stadium, he says government should take the soft loan from China but not any more aid money.

“We’re 40 years old and still begging as a nation. What amazes me is that per capita we are richer than the Chinese, and it’s wrong for rich people to beg for money.”

Bishop says although the One China policy is questionable and there’s no such thing as a free lunch, he does approve of fostering a good relationship with China.

“As the fastest growing economy we should be enhancing our relationship with them through receiving technical support, and looking at trade relations and the fishing industry.”

While Bishop commends the recent efforts of foreign affairs minister Wilkie Rasmussen in securing Chinese funding for the proposed multi-purpose sports stadium, he says government should take the soft loan from China but not any more aid money.

Rasmussen said on Wednesday that he was pleased with the Chinese government’s eagerness to assist with the funds for the Mini Games stadium.

He admitted that what China would eventually ask for in return was always in the back of their minds.

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