An Australian minister has launched an extraordinary attack on China’s attempts to build influence in the Pacific by investing in infrastructure projects, implying that the country is currying favor with smaller nations by plowing cash into useless buildings, the Financial Times reports.
“You’ve got the Pacific full of these useless buildings which nobody maintains, which are basically white elephants,” said Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Australian minister for international development and the Pacific, on Wednesday. “We just don’t want to build a road that doesn’t go anywhere… We want to ensure that the infrastructure that you do build is actually productive and is actually going to give some economic benefit or some sort of health benefit.”
Beijing responded forcefully to the minister’s comments, with China’s foreign ministry calling them “full of ignorance and prejudice” and saying that Fierravanti-Wells should “engage in self-reflection”.
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