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Hon Prime Minister’s Clarification of the Development Partnership with China

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20th August 2018 Further to his separate interviews published by the Samoa Observer, Reuters-NZ, and ABC Radio, which were subsequently picked up by other media outlets, the Prime Minister, Hon Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva would like to make a further statement of clarification:

1. Tonga-China relations cover various areas of development cooperation, and concessional loans and development assistance are an important part of that partnership. After the riots in 2006, the Tongan government had sought help for reconstruction from many countries and the People’s Republic of China was the only country that was willing to provide concessional loan on a large scale, which turned out to be crucial for the Kingdom’s economic recovery and maintenance of social stability.

2. Over the years, China has been aiding Tonga in different forms including grants for infrastructure, construction of roads, schools, convention center,
government buildings, as well as technical cooperation, material in-kind assistance and cash grants. All such development aid has greatly facilitated Tonga’s development in various aspects and helped improve the livelihood of the Tongan people, for which the Tongan government and people are exceedingly grateful.

3. Regarding my reported comments, after further reflection, I now believe that
the Pacific Islands Forum is not the proper platform to discuss this debt issue. Each Pacific Island country has its particular national conditions and different needs for foreign loan, and it’s up to each government to independently seek solutions through bilateral channels.

4. I also wish to clarify that China has never claimed to collect the debts or take
the assets from Tonga in any way, and the governments of Tonga and China have
maintained contacts regarding the repayment of the concessional loans. Our two sides will continue to engage with each other for proper solutions through friendly consultation.

5. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Tonga and China. The Tonga government attaches great importance to its relations with the People’s Republic of China, and is ready to work together with the Chinese side to further carry out the consensus reached by our two Heads of State and further push forward our Strategic Partnership, so that we will bring more benefits to our two peoples.

Issued by the: The Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.        Tel:(676) 24 644 Fax: (676) 23 888; For media enquiries- Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 August 2018 11:11 )  

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