5 Jun 2011

New USAID office in PNG seen as snub for Suva

8:28 am on 5 June 2011

A Pacific Studies specialist says a decision by the United States not to reopen its aid office in Fiji, is a snub for the regime of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year announced that the US Agency for International Development would be returning to the region after 15 years.

She said it would be set up in Suva, but Radio New Zealand understands the office is now destined for Papua New Guinea.

Steven Ratuva, from the Centre for Pacific Studies at Auckland University, says that not returning to Suva is an economic and political snub for the regime but it is a logical move because Papua New Guinea is the economic powerhouse of the Pacific.

He says the nation has vast mineral wealth, for which the United States is competing with China.

More on US engagement in the Pacific can be heard on Insight.