Australia anticipated to announce billion greenback mortgage fund for Pacific

Share

Wang said that he had agreed with Payne that the two countries could combine their respective strengths and embark on trilateral cooperation with Pacific island countries.

"I think the most important outcome of this dialogue is that we have reaffirmed the course of this relationship", Wang said after the meeting, which ran an hour longer than scheduled.

Payne said the discussions were "valuable, full and candid".

In a speech to be delivered today, Mr Morrison will declare it is time to "open a new chapter in relations with our Pacific family".

Ties between the two countries have been strained since Australia accused China of meddling in its domestic affairs late previous year. Although sparsely populated, Pacific island nations have resource-rich ocean zones.

Amid concerns China is courting Pacific nations with infrastructure and loans, Mr Morrison will unveil a $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific to support essential development and "stretch our aid dollars further". She met her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who on a visit to Papua New Guinea last month said China would "never" interfere in local matters.

The Federal Government will also offer billions of dollars in infrastructure grants and long-term loans as it moves to combat China's growing influence in the region.

More news: Sixers finalizing trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler
More news: Heavy rains, flooding kill 12 people in Jordan
More news: BATE Borisov vs. Chelsea - Football Match Report

He also said Australia would also expand its diplomatic presence in the Pacific, posting staff to Palau, the Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Niue and the Cook Islands.

Australia will also establish a Defence Force mobile training team for deployment to the Pacific to upskill local forces. He said in a Nov 1 speech at an Asia Society event hosted by Bloomberg in Sydney that "China is the country that is most changing the balance of power" and "exercising unprecedented influence in the Indo-Pacific".

The announcement came as Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne visited China in what had been described as a "thaw" in relations.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce his pivot to the Pacific as he prepares to meet regional leaders at the APEC forum in Papua New Guinea.

China has spent $1.3 billion on concessional loans and gifts since 2011 to become the Pacific's second-largest donor after Australia, stoking concern in the West that several tiny nations could end up overburdened and in debt to Beijing.

On Wednesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australia would oppose a A$13 billion buyout of APA Group, Australia's biggest gas pipeline company, by Hong Kong's CK Group on grounds that it would be against the national interest.

Australia welcomes China's stepping up investment, the minister said, adding that the cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative will contribute to the infrastructure construction in the region.

Share