O’Neill meets Xi

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The National, Monday July 11th, 2016

CHINESE President Xi Jinping is the first leader to confirm his attendance at the 2018 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Port Moresby.
He announced his intention during bilateral talks with PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Beijing on Thursday. It was an official visit by O’Neill.
During high-level discussions, the president expressed his support for more Chinese tourists to visit Papua New Guinea, and the two leaders discussed regional political issues.
O’Neill said having the president of China confirm his attendance for the leaders’ summit on Nov 17-18, 2018 was a great endorsement for PNG’s planning.
“There is a busy schedule of events around the time of our summit, including Asean and G20 summits, so I thank President Xi for his commitment,” O’Neill said.
During bilateral discussions, O’Neill and the president discussed a range of issues of consequence for both countries and the region.
“President Xi has been very supportive of PNG and has made it clear that the Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Papua New Guinea,” O’Neill said.
“Xi said he is supportive of working to strengthen our industrial and manufacturing sector and to increase exports from Papua New Guinea into China.”
O’Neill said one of the positive points to come from the discussions was the president’s support for more Chinese tourists to visit PNG.
“In Beijing, both countries signed an air services agreement that will pave the way for us to soon initiate direct flights between our countries.
“As part of this, Xi said he wants to encourage more tourists from China to visit our country to see the amazing landscape and people of Papua New Guinea.
“Xi said his Government will promote PNG as a tourist destination and this is a sound endorsement.
“There were more than 100 million outbound visits from China last year, and to capture even a slight fraction of that market would be a great boost to our tourism industry.
“Soon PNG will issue tourist visas on arrival for Chinese citizens and this will make visits even easier.
“Talks will be ongoing in relation to technical issues that make Papua New Guinea an even more attractive destination for Chinese travellers.”