Interview: China Ready to Strengthen Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries: Ambassador

The upcoming visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Fiji is of strategic importance and will spur bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Huang Yong said Wednesday.

From Friday to Sunday, the Chinese president is scheduled to pay a state visit to Fiji, where he is also to meet with leaders of Pacific island countries that have diplomatic ties with China.

Fiji is an important country in the South Pacific and the first in the region to forge diplomatic ties with Beijing, said the ambassador.

China-Fiji relations have progressed steadily and demonstrated increasingly positive signs of growth in recent years, said the ambassador.

"The two countries have deepened practical cooperation in politics, economy and trade, people-to-people exchanges, ushering in a new historic opportunity of growth in their bilateral ties," Huang said.

On trade and investment, the two sides have witnessed continuous growth, Huang noted. China has assisted in the construction of hospitals, housing, hydro-power stations, agricultural projects and road renovation, playing a concrete role in improving the livelihood of the island people.

On people-to-people exchanges, the two sides have achieved fruitful results, said the ambassador.

In 2014, a "China craze" swept across the island nation, with Chinese band Tang Dynasty, "Happy Spring Festival" performance and Chinese TV series drawing a large local audience, the ambassador said.

China also provides annual government scholarships, humanitarian medical services, and various training programs to the island nation, Huang said.

On international and regional affairs, China and Fiji have maintained close coordination, said the ambassador. China supports Fiji to play its part in regional cooperation, and Fiji has kept good communication and coordination with China on major international issues such as climate change.

The comprehensive growth of China-Fiji ties has not only brought tangible benefits to the two countries and two peoples, but also is conducive to peace, stability and development in the South Pacific, Huang said.

China and Pacific island countries are both developing countries with common historic opportunity, sharing the goal of peace and development, the ambassador said, explaining why China has offered a large amount of unconditional aid to the Pacific island countries.

"Xi's upcoming visit will fully demonstrate the great importance China has attached to developing relations with the Pacific island nations," said Huang. "The goal of the trip is to jointly chart out the future of China-Pacific ties and promote the practical cooperation and friendly exchanges between the two sides."

The visit is the first by a Chinese head of state to the South Pacific region, and the meeting with leaders of all nations in the region that have diplomatic ties with China is unprecedented, Huang said.

"It is a major event of important strategic significance in the history of bilateral relations between China and Pacific island countries and will certainly push bilateral ties to a new level," said the ambassador.

Source: Xinhua