Pacific island nations turn to Beijing-backed AIIB as pandemic sinks economies

By Jonathan Barrett and Praveen Menon SYDNEY/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Pacific island nations are turning to the China-backed AIIB development bank to plug funding gaps in their pandemic-ravaged budgets after exhausting financing options from traditional western partners, stoking fears the region is becoming more dependent on Beijing. The Cook Islands, a tiny country of around 20,000 people in the South Pacific, turned to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) late last year after a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a grant from close ally New Zealand fell short, two sources…

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