Recently, China’s State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a successful tour to the South Pacific Island countries, and held the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. PNG was the concluding leg of the tour. China’s ambassador to the country Zeng Fanhua believes the trip deepened bilateral relations between the nations.
In Papua New Guinea, State Councillor Wang Yi met and held talks with Prime Minister James Marape and Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe. He also attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents with Eoe and they jointly met the press and answered questions.
The two sides reached a number of new consensus and achieved positive outcomes.
PNG is the concluding leg of State Councillor Wang Yi’s visit to the South Pacific, which also marks the realisation of an exchange of visits by Foreign Ministers of the two countries within a year despite the continued pandemic.
The visit is of special significance. This is a trip that further deepens bilateral relations between the two countries. China and PNG enjoy a friendship of mutual respect and equality.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1976, the two countries have made significant progress in their relations.
President Xi Jinping’s state visit to PNG in 2018 opened a new stage of high-level development of the bilateral relations.
China upholds the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, stays committed to the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and firmly supports PNG in its efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and to pursue an independent development path.
PNG adheres to the one-China principle and firmly supports China’s legitimate propositions. The political foundation for the bilateral relations is solid.
As President Xi Jinping stressed during his telephone conversation with Prime Minister James Marape last October, the relationship between China and PNG has become a role model of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation among countries of different sizes and different social systems.
During the visit of State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the two sides agreed to cement the positioning of the comprehensive strategic partnership and push bilateral relations to a higher level and in wider areas, with continuous strengthening and upgrade.
This is a trip that further consolidates mutual support between the two countries.
China and PNG enjoy a brotherhood of mutual help. Both being developing countries, what China and PNG share in common are the wish for peace and pursuit of development.
The two countries join hands in coping with challenges like climate change and the Coronavirus pandemic.
As the largest and most populous country in the Pacific Island, PNG is a bellwether of regional development and the “locomotive” of cooperation between China and South Pacific Island countries.
The two sides will continue to help and support each other in the international arena and oppose power politics, bullying and interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
In recent years, a small number of countries have spared no effort to concoct the “China threat theory”, trying to interfere with China’s cooperation with Pacific Island countries, which is unpopular in PNG and other island countries and will not affect the friendship between China and PNG in any way.
China has no self-interest in the South Pacific and does not seek a “sphere of influence”.
The South Pacific Island countries are not an “exclusive zone” for any country, neither an arena for geopolitical games, but a stage for international cooperation.
During the visit of State Councillor Wang Yi to PNG, the two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues related to each other’s core interests and major concerns.
China and PNG will strengthen coordination and cooperation to jointly safeguard true multilateralism in the international arena, and call on the international community to pay more attention to the special concerns of PNG and other Pacific Island countries, to provide practical assistance in tackling climate change and pursuing sustainable development which are common concerns of the island countries.
The two sides support the construction of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the South Pacific and are alert to the risk of nuclear proliferation in the region.
This is a trip that further accelerates the joint development of the two countries. China and PNG enjoy a partnership focusing on development. “Development” is the key word in the relations between the two countries.
During the visit, the two Foreign Ministers attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents on anti-pandemic and green development, witnessed the unveiling of the Minimally Invasive Surgery Centre of the Port Moresby General Hospital.
The visit has generated fruitful results.
The two sides have agreed on accelerating the negotiation and conclusion of the free trade agreement, and will promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and jointly implement the Global Development Initiative.
China encourages more Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in PNG to help the country’s industrialisation and enhance its capacity for self-generated development.
China supports the Connect PNG Infrastructure Development Program 2020-2040 and the plan of establishing special economic zones including the Ihu Special Economic Zone, and strives to jointly build a number of landmark projects of mutual benefit and win-win results.
As I often say to my PNG friends, China has a huge market, technology and capital, while PNG has abundant resources, and the two countries enjoy strong economic complementarity and enormous potential for cooperation.
PNG was the first Pacific Island Country to sign the memorandum of understanding with China on Belt and Road cooperation, and has become China’s largest trading partner, investment destination and project contracting market in the region. China has provided economic and technical assistance with no political strings attached for PNG and supported PNG in its fight against Covid-19.
China helped build roads, bridges, universities, hospitals, hydropower stations among others, at the request of PNG.
The goal is to assist PNG’s economic and social development and bring tangible benefits to the entire PNG people.We will seek greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Connect PNG Program, continue to work on the bilateral free trade agreement, and conduct more experience-sharing on the development of special economic zones.
Greater efforts will be made in deepening cooperation in broader areas, including energy, fisheries, communications, health, law enforcement and at sub-national levels.
Downstream processing cooperation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries will be strengthened, and more programs like the China-Aided JUNCAO Technology and Upland Rice Technology Cooperation Project will be implemented.
As a developing country, China is well aware of the challenges and importance of national development, and will continue to help PNG speed up industrialisation and achieve self-driven development.
The long-term development of China-PNG relations cannot be achieved without the support of the people and society of both countries.
When the COVID-19 pandemic eases, China-PNG people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture and tourism are expected to resume.
I am delighted to see more and more college faculty members and students showing interest in learning Chinese after the establishment of the Confucius Institute at the PNG University of Technology and the launch of Confucius classroom in the Butuka Academy.
China attaches importance to the concerns and wishes of PNG students for returning to China to continue their studies as reflected in this newspaper.
The Chinese Embassy will make efforts to achieve this goal as soon as possible. I am full of confidence in the prospect of bilateral cooperation.