Fiji's ambassador to China recently slashed rumors of "China practicing debt-trap diplomacy through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," calling such remarks "misleading and a misconception of the initiative."
The ambassador, Manasa Tagicakibau, made the remarks during an interview with Fiji Sun, a daily newspaper published in Fiji, adding that the BRI revolved around economic development and growth.
"I think there is a misunderstanding by most people that the [BRI] is a method where China will take over the world, while it emphasizes a future of shared prosperity," said the ambassador, who further noted that the BRI strives to serve economic cooperation, development and growth between China and the rest of the developing world.
In response to the rumors, Tagicakibau noted that Fiji's Ministry of Economy revealed that Fiji's debt to China makes up less than 10 percent of its total debt.
"China's foreign policy is built upon mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win co-operation," added the ambassador.
China and Fiji signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation within the framework of the BRI in November 2018, as Fiji is located on the natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.