Vila Times

Controversial Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Stepping Down

Controversial Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Stepping Down
Controversial Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Stepping Down
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Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Mr. Liu Quan, controversial figure often associated with colonial treatment of Vanuatu and discouraging investments in the country, is stepping down.

According to reliable sources, Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu Liu Quan is about to leave his post.

The current Ambassador of China is to be transferred to Suriname, and will leave Port Vila this week, sources told us. At the moment, there has been no official announcement of the ambassador change made by the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu.

The Ambassador Liu Quan has been quite a controversial figure, and played an ambiguous role in the development of China’s relations with Vanuatu. During his service as the Ambassador of China (Liu Quan was appointed to Vanuatu in 2016), Vanuatu’s debt to China has grown significantly and now amounts to about $220 million, according to the estimates by independent researchers. This fact has repeatedly raised concerns of other countries, primarily Australia, about the impact of this debt on Vanuatu’s future and the ability of the state to maintain independence.

According to a number of informed sources, the ambassador Liu Quan was the main figure behind China’s aggressive attempts to establish its control over the Republic of Vanuatu with a colonial approach.

Furthermore, the ambassador is also associated with numerous cases of persecution of Chinese citizens in Vanuatu for political and related reasons, restrictions of freedom of speech, as well as obstructions for investments in Vanuatu by independent investors and businessmen of Chinese origin.

“He said many times that he has spent many years in a number of island countries and knows them very well. According to him, people in such countries are stupid and can not be trusted. So if China invests here it should make sure to get as much outcome as possible in every deal. We didn’t know if what he says is the official policy of China’s government or just his own opinion. Many Chinese investors and just regular visitors to the Embassy were discouraged by his words and his attitude,” a source that asked to remain anonymous due to safety concerns, told Vila Times.

“His arrival did not help Vanuatu and its bilateral relations with China at all. On the contrary. He has been treating people in Vanuatu government with no appropriate respect. For example, when the Prime Minister Salwai went to China he hadn’t met the Head of State or even any other high-ranked official, only a member of the Standing Committee. This is disrespectful. French Prime Minister met PM Salwai during his visit, as well as Australian Prime Minister just recently during Salwai’s visit to Australia. But they [China] treated Vanuatu as a colony, and this is wrong.»

The new Ambassador of China to Vanuatu is currently serving as a Consul in Thailand, according to our sources.