Goodbye CDF

Mainland China promises to give Constituency Development Fund, but only for short time

By Mike Puia


THE People’s Republic of China says it is willing to provide flexible money like that provided by the Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

But, there’s a catch – they will give somewhat freely for only a certain period of time before switching to their usual loan scheme.

The revelation was made by the chairman of the bipartisan taskforce, Mr John Moffat Fugui, when he appeared before the parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee (FRC) yesterday.

The FRC commenced its hearing yesterday. It will end today.

FRC is examining and will make recommendations on the issue of severing ties with ROC Taiwan.

The committee will also examine, make observations and recommendations on the government’s general conduct of its foreign policy.

The bipartisan taskforce, which was set up by the government in April this year to look into the pros and cons of a switch in relations to China, is the first group to appear before the FRC.

The taskforce provided information about countries visited like Fiji, Tonga, PNG and Samoa which have diplomatic relations with China to see the impact of Chinese aid into the Pacific. The taskforce also visited China’s Beijing and ROC Taiwan.

According to Fugui, his taskforce’s report will be finalised in the coming days.

The report is yet to reach cabinet and caucus. The government will have a final say whether or not to switch.

Fugui told the FRC hearing that the government’s move to sever the country’s ties with ROC Taiwan will leave a “gap” to support the government delivers to its people through the CDF.

He noted that during his taskforce’s meeting with PRC officials in Beijing, they indicated that China is willing to deliver flexible money like what ROC Taiwan provided but for a period of time.

He said China’s commitment will go on during the transition of a possible switch

Fugui said after the transition period, China would go back to its loan arrangement.

He said funding support China promises would come through projects using the framework ROC Taiwan used to deliver its CDF contribution.

According to Fugui, a change would mean China will use this system and then move to another as time goes.

Severing of ties with Taiwan is believed to be a major policy of Our Party, one of the four political parties that make up the government. The Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, is the leader of Our Party.

In his comments, FRC chairman, Mr Peter Kenilorea Junior, said it is important that this country goes back and assess why the founding fathers of this country chose to forge a relationship with ROC Taiwan rather than China in 1983.

Kenilorea Junior said severing ties with ROC Taiwan is a serious matter and if it happens, it’s a major foreign policy shift.

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