A new resort that is going to be built in Palau has no bearing with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese investor and top executive of the resort clarified.

During the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony held on January 18 for the Palau Royal Garden Resort, a 160-bedroom hotel that will be built in Ngerbechedesau, Koror, General Manager Ren Yongzhi told Island Times that the soon to be newest addition to Palau’s array of hotels does not have anything to do with China’s well-known initiative. Yongzhi was responding to the media’s inquiry about what kind of support the project gets from the Chinese government especially that it identified through a poster that the China Belt and Road Organizing Committee is one of its sponsors.

Yongzhi, through the aid of a translator, revealed that members of the China Belt and Road Organizing Committee had been sent out to Palau to support the company but he clarified that the committee had no involvement in the investment.

“As investors, we will do our part to invest in this place and to promote Palau and as to the committee part, they will promote and support us morally…not financially but morally,” Yongzhi said, adding that he hopes that the relationship between Palau and China will continue to be better in the future but he was quick to add that his main focus will be the development of the resort.

China’s Belt and Road initiative was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and was dubbed by the Chinese government as a means to “enhance regional connectivity” by connecting China to other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. Despite this claim, the initiative had also earned a reputation for luring small countries into a debt trap as a result of excessive borrowing. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)