SUVA: China donated 850,000 US dollars to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji on Thursday for several projects for Forum member countries.
Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Han Zhiqiang handed over the funds to the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade during a brief ceremony at the Secretariat in Suva.
This donation would encourage a healthy relationship between China and the regional countries including Fiji.
"I wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the People's Republic of China for their continued support of development initiatives agreed in the Post Forum Dialogue process. The 850,000 US dollars we are receiving today is a realization of commitments made by China in the 2005 and 2009 Post Forum Dialogue consultations," said Slade.
The funding will be utilized towards the implementation of the Forum Leaders' decisions to address the issues of air and sea transportation between the island nations of the region, and to develop ICT access.
Funding will also strengthen trade relations between China and Pacific island countries through financial support to the Pacific Islands Forum Trade Office in Beijing.
"The Secretariat will also use some of the funds to support Pacific islands countries to counter the effects of the global economic crisis by implementing a number of decisions taken at the recent Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in the Cook Islands, which had a strong focus on strategies to counter the effects of the global economic crisis," said Slade.
Ambassador Han said he was honored on behalf of Chinese government to hand over the funding to Pacific Islands Forum, one of the most important regional organizations in the Pacific and one that China attaches great importance to.
"I am also glad to learn nine Pacific Islands' students were awarded scholarships under the China-Pacific Islands Scholarship Scheme in October.
The Scheme together with the recent donation demonstrates the continuation of China's support to Pacific Islands Forum," said Ambassador Han.
"What we have done, what we are doing and what we are going to achieve, are to promote the friendly relationship and mutual- beneficial cooperation between China and Pacific Islands Countries, contribute to regional stability and prosperity. It is my belief that Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat will play an increasing important role in regional integration and development, and I look forward to furthering the close working relation with Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat," Ambassador Han added.
The China also supports other economic development initiatives including: The China-Pacific Islands Forum Regional Scholarships Program; Strengthening Trade and Economic Cooperation between FICs and North Asia; and World Expo 2010 in Shanghai