16 Aug 2007

No word yet from China and Malaysia on Fiji diplomatic appointments

1:12 pm on 16 August 2007

A fellow at New Zealand's Centre for Strategic Studies, Terence O'Brien, says there appears to have been a delay in approving two of Fiji's diplomatic appointments to Asia.

In early July, Fiji's interim government announced new diplomats for postings in China and Malaysia.

The former finance minister Sir James Ah Koy is the ambassador designate to China, the military spokesperson Neumi Leweni is the defence attaché designate, and the land force commander Colonel Pita Driti is in line to become the High Commissioner in Malaysia.

The Chinese and Malaysians embassies in Suva say they haven't been informed by their respective governments about any progress in the matter.

Mr O'Brien says the process requires governments to write letters to recommend and accept appointments, but in the case of China and Malaysia, there are important factors to consider.

"They're aware that the government in Fiji came into power by means of a military coup. They are aware, both countries, that some of Fiji's neighbours, and that includes New Zealand, are uncomfortable about that, and in deciding this issue, both China and Malaysia may well want to take this into account New Zealand and Australia and consider other views."

Terence O'Brien