Once a staunch ally of New Zealand, Australia and Britain, Fiji now looks “north”.
From a Fijian government press release 12 August 2008
Aug 11, 2008 – Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has reassured China of Fiji’s one-China policy and that Fiji will continue to recognise the Peoples’ Republic of China as the sole and legitimate Government of the whole of China, including Taiwan.
Commodore Bainimarama made the undertaking at a private meeting with Premier of the Republic of China HE Mr Wen Jiabao in China yesterday.
“Let me again on our part, reiterate the interim Government’s commitment to the one-China policy. Fiji will continue to recognise the Peoples’ Republic of China as the sole and legitimate Government of the whole of China, including Taiwan,” he said.
“We continue to desire the degree of co-operation between our two countries throughout the whole range of our relationships that is based on mutual understanding, respect and trust.
Commodore Bainimarama thanked Premier Jiabao for China’s continued provision of the much needed development assistance to Fiji, in crucial areas of Fiji’s economic and social development, particularly in infrastructural development, health sector, sports facilities, financial grant assistance, amongst others, when we most needed it.
“During these difficult times, we are trying to secure new markets for our products, particularly where there is flexibility and readiness to meet the export needs of small island countries like Fiji,” he said.
“We will, therefore, continue to Look North and engage with countries like China to help us meet our trade and investment aspirations.
Commodore Bainimarama said last year Fiji exempted Chinese nationals from pre-entry visa requirements for entry into Fiji and hopes that this initiative will help stimulate a growth in visitor arrivals from China, investment and business activities in Fiji to our mutual benefit.
“We have developed over the years a number of bilateral agreements, bilateral aid assistance programmes and cultural exchange programmes and other people to people linkages, it is my confident hope and wish that through these, the close and friendly relations between our two countries will continue to grow and strengthen for our mutual benefit and that Fiji-China friendship blossoms even further, in the future,” he said.
“We are also committed, Your Excellency, to harnessing the soft loan funding you announced in your visit to Fiji in April 2006. We have identified a number of projects and are liaising closely with your authorities to further pursue this.