Friends Always

Building greater capacity for self-driven development in the Pacific will continue: Wang
31 May 2022 16:28
Friends Always
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Yi alongside Prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his state visit press conference at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on 30 May, 2022. Photo- Leon Lord

China will continue to provide assistance to Pacific Island countries with no political strings attached.

This was the point made by China’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Wang Yi in a press conference concluding his visit to Fiji yesterday.

Mr Wang assured that they would continue to help Pacific Island countries to build greater capacity for self-driven development.

The Foreign Affairs Minister met with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday where the two discussed areas of mutual interest of which the two countries could continue to cooperate in.

This included combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, opportunities to expand sustainable ocean management in the Pacific, and ways Fijian exporters could land more of their high quality products and produce in the Chinese market.

More areas of interest included infrastructure, training opportunities for Fijian people including law enforcement officers.

Prime Minister Bainimarama also sought a stronger commitment from China on climate action for smaller Pacific island states.

“Our two sides agreed to further synergise our strategies, expand cooperation in economy, trade, agriculture, fisheries, tourism, civil aviation, education, law enforcements, emergency management and other areas within the framework of belt and road cooperation for mutual benefits and win-win outcomes,” Mr Wang said.

“Our two sides also recognised that climate change is a common urgent challenge facing all of us.

“China and Fiji will continue to take that constructive part in the global multilateral process on climate change and jointly promote full effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and realise low carbon and sustainable development of the whole world at a higher level.”

At the end of the press conference Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo reiterated there was no sort of agreement on security purposes signed between the two countries as widely speculated internationally through the media.

He confirmed that the two countries signed three agreements that focused on economic development.


Visit not about point scoring

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the visit by the Foreign Affairs minister should not be considered as a point scoring tactic.

“I hope we also know that geo-political point-scoring means less than little to anyone whose community is slipping beneath the rising seas, whose job has been lost to a pandemic, or whose family is impacted by the rapid rise in the price of commodities.

“And I urge the media who have intensely covered this visit to rise above the political punditry and put a focus on how we can solve these challenges together.”


Pacific Island Cooperation

Mr Wang had also revealed that between 1992 and 2021, annual trade between China and Pacific island countries who shared diplomatic ties with China registered a growth of 13 per cent, expanding by almost 30 times in 30 years.

He added that contract projects with Chinese companies in the Pacific island countries exceeded US$20billion (about F$40 billion).

“We have helped Pacific island countries to build roads, bridges, wharves, hospitals, schools, stadiums and other important infrastructure,” he said.

“We have also trained more than 10,000 professionals of various centres.

“China has already sent medical teams to 8 Pacific island countries with diplomatic ties with us benefiting hundreds and thousands of people in local communities. Annually nearly 100,000 tourists travel to the South Pacific.”

He added that the figures demonstrated that the all-round cooperation between China and Pacific Island Countries had brought about tangible benefits to people in this region.


Second China–Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting

Mr Wang also co-chaired the second China–Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers Meeting with Prime Minister Bainimarama yesterday.

China is a Forum Dialogue partner in the Pacific Islands Forum and a bilateral partner to the 10 Pacific Island countries that met yesterday.

Mr Wang said after the meeting the 10 countries reached consensus in the following five aspects:

  • Deepen comprehensive strategic partnership
  • Support each other in defending our countries sovereignty, independence and national dignity
  • Agreed to pursue common development and prosperity
  • Agreed to advocate true multilateralism
  • Agreed to promote people to people connectivity

“We will work with Pacific Island nations to develop and emerge the reserve of emergency supplies, the climate action cooperation center, poverty reduction and cooperation center, the agriculture cooperation demonstration center, the disaster response and cooperation center and the technology centre. Six new cooperation platforms.”




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