China

NZ advises Pacific countries to ask China for debt forgiveness

The Samoa Observer reports that Winston Peters made the suggestion during an exclusive interview at the recent Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting in Samoa.

Mr Peters said the level of debts that Pacific Island nations owed to the Chinese government should be addressed at the leadership level.

Last week, Tonga Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva cautioned Pacific Island nations to "slow down" asking China for loans.

He referred to the experiences of his own country, which owes the Chinese government $US160 million.

Tonga's PM wants regional push for China to forgive debts

'Akilisi Pohiva says Tonga is two years overdue on Chinese loan payments, but will this year pay $US14 million towards its outstanding $US160 million debt.

He told the Samoa Observer that if Pacific Islands don't pay their debts to China's government, it will seize their assets as collateral.

He says the only option for Tonga and other indebted nations is to ask China to forgive the debts.

Mr Pohiva has repeatedly asked China's government to forgive Tonga's debt, which is a substantial portion of the kingdom's GDP, or convert the loans to grants.

"Peace Ark" hospital ship arrives in Tonga for visit and medical services

The "Peace Ark" hospital ship is the third Chinese naval ship to visit Tonga after the previous visits by the training ship "Zhenghe" and the guided missile frigate "Mianyang" of the PLAN.

"The purpose of this tour to Tonga, with the mission of providing medical services, is to carry forward the international humanitarian spirit, strengthen exchanges between the two militaries, and promote the view of harmony", Rear Admiral Shen Hao, commanding officer of the "Harmonious Mission - 2014", said at the welcoming ceremony.

China takes up Australia's former radio space in Pacific

In response to budget cuts, the ABC last year ceased shortwave broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region ahead of a switch to FM transmission.

Australia-based technology observer Peter Marks told Radio ABC's Tech Headprogramme that since that withdrawal, the space was swiftly being filled.

"Since Radio Australia has dropped off shortwave, many of the exact frequencies we used to use have been now taken over by Chinese stations targetting the Asia Pacific region," he explained.

China says Australia's Pacific debt claim 'ridiculous'

The Sydney Morning Herald reported his comments following remarks by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that the Australian government was concerned some Chinese financing arrangements in the Pacific would undermine the islands' sovereignty.

She said Australia would aim to offer alternatives to Chinese infrastructure development.

Ambassador Cheng Jingye said the idea China wanted to create debt-traps for the Pacific nations was "ridiculous".

China's relationships with Pacific nations were on an equal footing which was mutually beneficial, he said.

Peppa Pig blocked from China's Douyin video platform

Social media users in the country noticed video clips of the cartoon were being removed on Saturday, and on Monday, state newspaper Global Times said that the #PeppaPig hashtag had been removed from the Douyin video website, while searches for "Peppa Pig" on the site produced no results.

Many papers also note that the platform appears to have added "Peppa Pig" to its list of blacklisted content.

The Peppa Pig cartoon is hugely popular in China, but despite being targeted at a pre-school audience, it has found mass appeal with Chinese adults in recent months.

Trump keen to meet Kim after 'successful' China talks

But Mr Trump said maximum sanctions and pressure on North Korea would continue ahead of proposed talks in May.

He added that denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula was now a possibility.

The comments follow Mr Kim's meeting with China's President Xi Jinping, in his first known foreign trip since taking office in 2011.

Mr Kim and his wife were greeted with a banquet and a guard of honour, with the North Korean leader reportedly saying he was committed to denuclearisation. China is North Korea's main economic ally.

NZ not competing with China in Pacific

On Monday, Ardern pledged the government would dedicate almost $10 million in aid and support for Samoa.

She told Morning Report that regardless of what other countries were doing, New Zealand should exercise its duties and responsibilities as partners and friends in the Pacific.

China provides disaster relief assistance to Tonga

The fund will assist in rehabilitation following the devastation of Cyclone Gita on Tongatapu and Eua earlier this week.

China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, Wang Yi sent a message to Prime Minister, a day after Cyclone Gita hit Tonga extending heartfelt sympathy to the Government and people of Tonga, vowing that China is ready to provide emergency disaster relief assistance within its capacity, and believing that with the joint efforts of the Tongan government and people, Tonga will be able to overcome the disaster and rebuild the country.

Tonga Customs seize fake exercise books

Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Commerce, Consumer, Innovation, Trade, and Labour , Edgar Cocker, said the container contained materials designed to look like Warwick
Croxley Red exercise books.

Cocker told Kaniva News the book was an example of professional intention to counterfeit a New Zealand idea and concept.

The fake textbooks were made in China.

“This is against the Consumer Act and therefore we have the right to hold the materials and confiscate,” Cocker said.