The Government of East Timor last week signed a loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China (China EXIM Bank) giving the Southeast Asian nation access to a US$50-million concessional loan. It would be used to build and upgrade the drainage system of the capital Dili, East Timor’s Ministry of Finance has announced.

“The implementation of this project will significantly enhance the urban development and quality of life in the city of Dili,” said East Timor’s Minister of Finance, Santina Cardoso, as quoted in a press release.

Ms Cardoso added the project was “a visible mark of the friendship” between China and East Timor.

The loan agreement was signed by the Minister and by China’s Ambassador to East Timor, Liu Hongyang.

“China does not come to help, but to co-operate with East Timor as an equal partner in the development of East Timor,” Mr Liu told the media at the signing ceremony, as quoted in the official release.

Mr Liu also noted China-East Timor ties have entered a “new phase of pragmatic co-operation”.