Will Murray ever understand?

The United States has chosen Fiji as the site for its expansion of aid to the Pacific despite its military regime.

Behind the decision is a desire to counter Fiji’s strong relationship with China.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement before her eight-country tour of the Asia-Pacific area. She is due in New Zealand tomorrow for talks in Wellington, and will go to Christchurch on Friday.

The US abandoned its Pacific aid post 15 years ago, leaving a gap that has been keenly filled by China, which is expanding its international influence through aid.

The US has publicly said for some time that it believes it was a mistake to turn its attention from the Pacific.

It had been considering other locations for its USAID base, including Honiara in the Solomons.

But because of the strengthening relationship between Fiji and China and the fact that Fiji is a hub for the Pacific, it chose Fiji.

Surely Hillary Clinton will have a wee chat to John Key and fool Foreign Minister Murray McCully about the folly of shunning Fiji, a policy that has had spectacular results so far.

Labour’s and then National’s policy toward Fiji has been appalling. At the same time as entering free trade agreements with dictator-ships, welcomeing dictators on official visits and having SOE’s make huge amounts of money out of military juntas, successive governments have shunned Fiji, placed sanctions on them and insisted that they return to a racist constitution.

Fiji must wonder what they have ever done to deserve the opprobrium of New Zealand and Australia when other less than democratic nations like Tonga and Samoa are treated with indifference over their constitutional arrangements.

Hopefully Hilary Clinton can get it through their thick skulls in Wellington, and in particular murray McCully’s, that shunning and isolaing Fiji has done nothing except give China an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the middle of the Pacific.

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