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Sailing toward an ocean of hope and friendship

By Yi Xin | | Updated: 2024-04-11 09:28
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People of the Pacific are intimately tied to the ocean. They sailed the sea hundreds of years before the Europeans. They navigated their canoes by the stars and other signs that came from the ocean and sky, and reached many islands in the Pacific, way before Christopher Columbus.

Today, these excellent navigators are eager to seek friendship and cooperation across the vast ocean.

Grand ship of friendship

In the southwestern part of Nauru, a typical day for the local people often begins under the rising sun, as dewdrops glisten on the deck of container ships. Workers at Aiwo Harbor, Nauru’s largest harbor, are busy with the development project contracted by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd.

The harbor used to be too small for container ships to dock. Today, with modern facilities, one container ship can now be handled every 30 or even 20 days, compared with two months in the past. The project linked Nauru with the rest of the world, bringing cutting-edge technologies, job opportunities and higher income to its people. Higher income leads to more stable and fulfilling lives.

Cooperation projects have helped local people stand on their own feet. An even more promising future beckons as Nauru resumes diplomatic ties with China, a right choice made by the government and people of Nauru. It is not just for the cooperation opportunities that come with the upgrading of relationship but more importantly, as President David Adeang of Nauru who recently visited China said, “This partnership with China puts Nauru on the right side of history and benefits both our nations and fosters mutual respect, development and prosperity.”

The historic visit from the Nauruan President to China further cements mutual political trust and support, a testament to a sincere and equal partnership between countries of different sizes. China-Nauru relations have opened a new chapter and will deliver benefits to the two peoples and their future generations.

Nothing, not even oceans and seas, can separate people with common goals and ideals. The exchange of a handshake between China and Nauru reflects the two countries’ shared commitment to engagement rather than disengagement, and inclusivity rather than exclusivity. The shared identity as developing countries and the fact that both countries are faced with the common task of growing their economy, improving people’s livelihoods and realizing modernization has brought the two countries closer.

PV energy of synergy

Several kilometers away from the Aiwo Harbor, rows of blue photovoltaic panels are neatly arranged on the coast. Clear sky, calm sea and dark blue panels blend into one harmonious whole in the glare of the sun. This photovoltaic power generation and energy storage project is helping to make Nauru, known as the “pearl of the Pacific,” stronger and greener.

In the past, diesel-generated power represented the bulk of local energy consumption, with a big share of diesel being imported. For a country prone to natural disasters such as cyclones and rising sea-levels, climate change is an existential and priority policy issue for Nauru. The task of energy transition has never been as urgent as it is today.

The good news is photovoltaic panels are being installed in the southwestern part of the island through the country’s largest renewable energy project currently under construction contracted with China.

Abundant sunshine in Nauru and China’s technology has fostered strong synergy for building this photovoltaic power project. Once connected to the grid, the project, which is expected to be completed in the second half of this year, will generate 12 million kilowatt-hours of clean electricity every year, increasing renewable energy supplies by more than 50 percent. Photovoltaic power means less electricity bills and lower costs of maintenance, which will give a strong boost to Nauru’s endeavor to achieve sustainable development.

With greener energy comes greater synergy. With close partnership comes more cooperation programs. During President David Adeang’s historic visit to China, the two countries signed bilateral cooperation documents in Belt and Road cooperation, the Global Development Initiative, economic development and agriculture. Rich agricultural, fishery and tourism resources of Nauru and its phosphate deposits represent huge cooperation potential. China’s technologies and cost-effective products herald more jobs and higher living standards for Nauruan people. The best is yet to come.

Partnerships of prosperity

From harbor to photovoltaic panels, from infrastructure projects to sharing of knowledge and technology, China is offering what it has to help its partners prosper and with its own actions, has won the hearts of the people of Pacific Island countries.

The partnerships are also about reaching out to each other. From phosphate of Nauru to liquefied natural gas of Papua New Guinea, from the mineral water of Fiji to the tuna fish of the Federated States of Micronesia, island specialties are making their way into China, supplying the Chinese market with an extensive choice of high-quality goods.

President David Adeang stated, “We should be inclusive and engaging and look towards maximum economic participation so that no country, large or small, and despite whatever development status, is left behind.” This is the same logic behind China’s partnerships with Pacific Island countries.

“The vast Pacific Ocean is indeed a bond between China and Pacific Island countries.” As long as China and Nauru and other Pacific Island countries stick together through thick and thin, the ship of friendship and cooperation would never veer off course, but sail steadily toward a brighter future.

The author is a Beijing-based international affairs commentator.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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