Relations intact – PM

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka stresses a point during a press conference in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says Fiji-China relations will not be impacted in the case of any termination of existing memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two countries.

He was referring to a memorandum of understanding between the Fiji Police Force and China’s Ministry of Public Security inked in 2011.

This resulted in Fijian police officers undergoing training in China and Chinese officers being deployed to Fiji on attachment programs for three to six months.

During an interview on Friday, he was asked whether relations between the two countries would be impacted if the deal was terminated.

“No, because it will be looked at again because of the transnational crimes and all those things,” Mr Rabuka said.

“We’ll have to look at the MOU and see if we need to end it or extend it, and it might be expanded also because of the transnational nature of crimes nowadays.”

In response, a spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy said both China and Fiji were comprehensive strategic partners featuring mutual respect and common development.

“We have noticed that honourable Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka recently stated publicly that China has come in with a blank sheet of paper and seen Fiji as just development partners,” the spokesperson said.

“He said Fiji and China have shared friendly relations over the last 48 years, thanked China for supporting Fiji, and reaffirmed the Fiji Government’s adherence to the one-China principle — which is a longstanding international consensus.

“We hope that the new Fiji Government can continue to regard China as a reliable friend and partner of Fiji, and work with China to promote continuous development of China-Fiji relations, so as to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples.”

The spokesperson also said China had carried out different forms of military and police cooperation with many developing countries whose systems were not similar to China.

However, they were committed to respecting the wishes and actual needs of the countries concerned.

“China never imposes its will on others. Over the past years, China-Fiji military and police cooperation has effectively enhanced Fiji’s capacity building in related fields. It does not conflict with Fiji’s existing bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms, has not brought any harm to Fiji, and has been highly praised by the Fijian side.

“Taking social stability and post-COVID economic recovery as priority, the Pacific island countries refer to the international community for more support and resources.

“As a responsible major country, China has always been there for the PICs. We firmly believe that China-Fiji relations, including the military and police cooperation, will not be disrupted or destructed by any external force.”

The spokesperson also said China had continually provided a great amount of assistance to Fiji during times of need and that China’s cooperation with PICs, including Fiji, never targeted any third party, nor did it interfere in the internal affairs of PICs, and did not seek “spheres of influence”.

“China has no interest in geopolitical competition, sincerely hopes to help Fiji achieve sustainable development, and welcomes other countries to carry out more cooperation with Fiji.”

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