WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Japan's foreign minister has raised concerns about the high levels of debt accrued by some Pacific Island nations and says it wants to help resolve the problem.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono made the comments Monday while visiting New Zealand, where he met with his counterpart Winston Peters.
Some observers have become alarmed at the growth in Chinese lending in the Pacific and worry that small countries such as Tonga and Vanuatu are becoming beholden to China because of their high debt levels.
Kono didn't mention China specifically in his comments.
His visit to New Zealand is the first by a Japanese foreign minister in five years. It marks a warming relationship between the two nations over the past year since Jacinda Ardern became New Zealand's prime minister.