Fiji’s law enforcement cooperation with China hangs in the balance as it signs a separate defence agreement with New Zealand.

The Chinese Embassy states that it cannot understand why it cannot continue its police exchange agreement with Fiji.

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had stated earlier this month in New Zealand that the exchange agreement is under review as his government considers whether to cancel it outright.

Chinese Ambassador Zhou Jian says the agreement is still valid according to the articles of the MOU even before the two parties reach an agreement.

“The China-Fiji Police Co-operation, Law Enforcement Co-operation are professional, transparent and inclusive which benefit both of our two countries. I cannot see any reason why we cannot continue to do so, so I’m still looking forward, we will keep engaging with coalition government to see what we can do to continue our co-operation.”

In 2011, Fiji’s military government signed a memorandum of understanding that allowed Fijian police officers to be trained in China.

The agreement also facilitated the deployment of Chinese officers to Fiji.

Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua signed the Status of Forces Agreement with New Zealand last week.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador Jian Zhou, Tuesday paid a courtesy call to the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Dr Lesikimacuata Korovavala.

The introductory call was an opportunity for the newly appointed Permanent Secretary to meet with Ambassador Zhou and discuss the existing areas of cooperation between Fiji and China and the way forward to further strengthen the two countries bilateral relations.

Dr Korovavala said Fiji is committed to the One China Policy and is willing to strengthen mutual cooperation between the two countries.

He acknowledged the People’s Republic of China for their contributions to Fiji over the years supporting Fiji Government’s development priorities in areas such as agriculture, defence and security, education, health, investment, infrastructure, humanitarian assistance and climate change.

Ambassador Zhou congratulated Permanent Secretary Korovavala on his appointment and looks forward to working together with his office in elevating Fiji’s bilateral relations with China to newer heights.

He emphasised that China and Fiji are comprehensive strategic partners with mutual respect for common development.

China will continue to strengthen relations with Fiji through high-level exchanges and practical cooperation that support Fiji’s socioeconomic development aspirations.