A new survey has found the Cook Islands is the least suitable country for China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Researchers from Peking University and the Beijing-based thinktank the Taihe Institute say China should assess and prevent risks before pushing ahead with projects.

The Taihe Institute’s annual survey of 94 countries signed on to Belt and Road assesses their suitability for the global investment plan.

It looks at how the countries engage with China in policy, infrastructure, trade, financing and human exchanges.

According to the survey, countries that have good relations with China or are geographically close to it score well.

Weaknesses include a lack of financing options or infrastructure to carry out Belt and Road projects

The Cook Islands scored last, while Vanuatu ranked 87th and Papua New Guinea placed 86th.

The researchers say China should cater Belt and Road projects to each country’s advantages and weaknesses.