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China Happy To Help Fiji Set Up A New Navy Base

China Happy To Help Fiji  Set Up A New Navy Base
The Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Zhang Ping, (LEFT) and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama look through the photographs at the Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday. PHOTO JONA KONATACI.
November 06
08:57 2015

China will be happy to look at helping Fiji set up a new naval base.

Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Zhang Ping said: “We are open to any proposal or suggestion as to how we can enhance our co-operation as to which projects we need to work out the details for.

“I have seen the report.

“If there is a need from the Fiji side, we will be happy to look at it.”

He said China shared “very good relationship with the RFMF.”

He said during President Xi Jing Ping’s visit last November, both sides signed an MOU of exchanges and co-operation between our two militaries.

“This is a good way to develop military to military relationship,” he said.

 

Diplomatic relations

Mr Zhang: “We have achieved a great deal in the past 40 years – we have achieved a great deal in many aspects. I think that is being felt by the local community. I think for the future developments bilaterally  we still feel there is lots of things that needs to be done and can be done.

“The issue is how to combine the Chinese assistance programme and co-operation programme with Fiji’s economic development goals. We need to focus on those key areas where there is an urgency for development…. because I think that will make China-Fiji co-operation more effective.

“Of course, right now I think we are on the right track, for eg. in the area of agriculture.”

 

Exports vs Imports

He said although “we are quite different in terms of economic size”  there were a lot of areas where they complimented each other. “The issue is how to make full play of each niche advantage…Fiji has a lot of advantage in terms of agriculture, you have lots of land that can be fully used in the future, once you make full use of this land, you can grow lots of organic products – which can be exported to China.

“So I think, in the long-run we need to set up a kind of a framework that we can negotiate a kind of a package deal to open up the market and provide more facilitation of trade and investment in the future. So I think that is the goal in the future …and if we can work that framework out, it can pave the way for greater exports of Fiji products in the future.”

Barry Whiteside, Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji, said: “Fiji holds a deficit with China that has grown exponentially from around $32 million in the year 2000 to approximately $490 million in 2014.”

He said our export earnings, however, had increased from $1.3 million to around $135 million over the last 15 years.

Mr Whiteside spoke at a symposium at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva yesterday to mark the 40th anniversary of Fiji-China diplomatic relations.

It was followed by a buffet dinner hosted by China.

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 

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