China’s aid to countries in the Pacific has no political strings attached and is not aimed at any third party, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said on Friday. The statement came after a think-tank said China has become the second-largest aid donor in the South Pacific, Reuters reports. China’s $1.3 billon-worth of donations and concessionary loans since 2011 trails Australia’s $6.6 billion, figures compiled by Australia’s Lowy Institute show. However, it is more than New Zealand’s $1.2 billion. “As a developing country, China fully understands the special difficulty Pacific island countries face in achieving sustainable development,” the ministry said. It added that “China’s aid is aimed at promoting the well-being of the people of the island nations… and it is also not aimed at any third party.”

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