She said China was keen to increase its influence in the Pacific through aid and investment, creating strong ties with Bainimarama, who won by a landslide when Fiji held its first election since the 2006 coup on September 17. "The traditional Western donors kind of turned away and made it possible for China to step in," said Schmaljohann, who has just co-authored an ODI report on Fiji's aid sector. "Fiji and China established a really good relationship and I think that will carry on. "It was a consequence that Australia and New Zealand didn't really think about, they just wanted to push for democracy and completely forgot that China was there and was happy to step in.
Schmaljohann warned, however, that China was in Fiji to stay, meaning Canberra could not expect a return to the pre-coup days when it regarded the South Pacific nation as part of its own backyard, out of bounds to other players. "Australia has previously been a dominant partner in the Pacific but now it has to share the space with China," she said. "I think the Australians are aware of this.
Read more here: Business Spectator