Aid and fight between Australia, China

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Dear Editor

Re: No need to burn our bridges over Australia and China row

Great piece Keni! You’re right, our P.M. should stay neutral on this issue and let Australia and China sort it out through diplomacy. 

I am grateful to both countries for their Aids and support. Can I also add that Australia is our largest bilateral donor worth millions donated every year to help our country prosper. 

These “assorted gifts” our P.M. is referring to is worth AUD$37.2 million(2017-2018) and is up from AUD$35.8 million(2016-2017). 

Now I think that is very generous and mind you Australia is doing the same with other Pacific States as well. The two donor countries differ in how their Official Development Assistance is delivered. 

Australia implements an integrated set of foreign, trade and development policies to advance their interests in Samoa, China advance their interest mostly through loosely regulated Exim Bank and O.D.A. concessional loans or soft loans for key buildings and infrastructures. 

But, Samoa will have to repay China once the honeymoon or interest free period is over. 

This is what our friends and our people are concerned about, whether we can sustain repayments for our foreign debt as it increases every year. And what will happen when we default our loans? 

It’s no secret China has acquired strategic ports and lands around the world when countries default on their loans for its ‘One belt, one road’ initiative. 

The P.M. says all China wants is for Samoa to recognize the ‘One China’ policy and our support or vote with matters in the UN. What! No collateral for loans? Yeah right that’s all they want, so the take over of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, Darwin in Australia, Piraeus in Greece and another port under threat to be taken over Mombasa in Kenya are all a coincidence? 

Please Samoa wake up, open your eyes, look from outside the bubble some of you live in and get a clearer picture of what is going on. 

“My words will attract a strong mind or offend a weak one”. 

Tofa soifua!

 

Oi Sole

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