EU not here to compete with China


THE European Union funded projects in Solomon Islands are not initiated to compete with China.

EU Ambassador/ Head of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam mentioned this to Island Sun in an exclusive interview in Honiara last week.

Seam was in Honiara to launch four EU funded projects to benefit people in rural areas on health and education, Peoples Living with Disability (PLWD), Livelihood Improvement Project for Central Islands Province to be implemented by World Vision and to combat People in Trafficking (PIT) and Gender Based Violence in Solomon Islands.

He said EU has a strategy for cooperation in the Indo Pacific

“It doesn’t mean we are totally oblivion or ignorant of the geo strategic competition which takes place here in the Pacific.

“Like everyone we observe the geo strategic competition on the rivalry between China and other countries on the other hand,” he said.

“As far as the EU is concern, we have always said we have an Indo Pacific strategy and our position in the world as a global power is not against anyone.

“As mentioned in the case of Solomon Islands, it demonstrates that in the projects we have here is not to compete against China,” he said.

Seam said they are really in cooperation with the Solomon Islands, responding to needs which are expressed to us by the Solomon Islands Government.

“With respect to China, our official position is off course we have diplomatic relations with China who is a strategic partner.

However, Seam said on global issues like Climate Change, EU needs to work with China because she is a major emitter.

“If we want to address climate change and we don’t want to work with China, we won’t make a lot of difference because China remains the major emitters.

“So, they have to be included in any plans to address climate change,” he said.

Further to that, Seam said China is an economic competitor and systematic competitor because their visions are not the same.

“As far EU is concerned, we stand for democracy and good governance, human rights and protection of the most vulnerable and for international order which is based on the rule of law.

“So even though we will not position ourselves as EU which is a grouping of 27 member states in Europe, against China we have to be aware that China is at the same time a strategic partner and economic competitor and systematic partner,” he added.

Seam and his delegation returned to Fiji on Saturday.

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