By CYRIL GARE
SEPIKS have been urged to become an example for others to follow in strengthening the relationship between Papua New Guinea and China.
East Sepik MP and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare urged his people to take on this challenge amid
strong anti-Chinese sentiments and killings of Chinese nationals in Port Moresby and parts of PNG in recent times.
Sir Michael made the appeal during the official opening of the new K19 million Wewak sports stadium last Tuesday.
PNG’s component for the construction of the stadium was K7 million while China provided K12 million.
PNG’s relationship with China goes back 34 years to 1976 when diplomatic relations were established.
Today, China is PNG’s leading trading partner.
In 1996, Sir Michael, then East Sepik Governor, took a delegation of provincial members and administration to Shandong province of China and a sister province relationship was affirmed.
It was through this relationship that East Sepik was able to gain the attention of the Chinese government to assist in providing the much needed facility that will enable the province to host future regional and international games and events.
“With this stadium, people of East Sepik can now invite other provinces to participate in sporting events and foster relations not only with other provinces but peoples in the regions and other parts of the world.
“I call on the people of East Sepik to take ownership of this stadium and look after it so as to serve you for many years to come.
“People of this country want development and progress and it is through partnerships like this that the Government is able to fulfill some of the aspirations of our people.
“I therefore call on Sepiks to be examples for others to follow.
“We must not discriminate against any of our partners. We must find common ground and learn to live and work side by side,” Sir Michael said.