Xi hails China's relations with Pacific island countries

Updated: 2014-11-21 16:54


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SUVA - China considers itself a lasting true friend of the Pacific island countries and will work together with them to shape an even better future for their relations, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday.

In a signed article published on Fiji Times and Fiji Sun, Xi said he is eager to learn about the continued prosperity in Fiji as evidenced by its robust economic growth, steady progress in social development, improved living standards, and active participation in international exchanges.

Fiji is the first Pacific island country to establish diplomatic relations with China. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1975, China and Fiji have carried out frequent exchanges at all levels, engaged in fruitful practical cooperation and supported each other in multilateral affairs.

"I hope my visit will help strengthen political mutual trust, enhance cooperation in areas such as economy, trade, agriculture, forestry, fishery and tourism, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, deepen multilateral coordination and cooperation, and take China-Fiji traditional friendship to a new height," Xi said.

The Chinese president said an important agenda of his visit is to invite leaders of all Pacific island countries that have diplomatic ties with China to Fiji for discussions on ways to further grow China's relations with these countries and jointly draw a blueprint for the bright future of friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Hailing that Pacific island countries are important members of the Asia-Pacific community and the developing world, he said the friendly exchanges between the people of China and Pacific island countries date back to a long time ago.

"We shall be good brothers who support each other in both good and bad times. Sincerity is the key to a lasting friendship," Xi said, stressing that China believes that all countries are equal members of the international community irrespective of their size, wealth and strength.

The president reaffirmed China's commitment to firmly support the people of island countries in pursuing development paths suitable to their own national conditions, upholding sovereignty and development rights and interests, and participating in international and regional affairs on an equal footing with other countries.

"We shall be good partners of win-win cooperation and common development," he said, adding that China will continue to provide support and assistance to island countries.

The president welcomes more friends from Pacific island countries to visit China, for sight-seeing, studying, doing business or other exchanges.

"We hope to expand exchanges and cooperation with island countries in culture, education, health, sports and between youths and at local levels so as to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between our people and pass on our friendship from generation to generation," he said.

Citing a proverb of the Pacific island countries, "our world itself is an island," Xi said the vast Pacific Ocean links China, Fiji and other island countries and their people's hearts close together.

"As a true friend of Pacific island countries, China stands ready to work on the basis of mutual respect and equality to deepen our win-win co-operation and provide more help to support their accelerated development so as to achieve common development and prosperity," he said.

Xi arrived in Fiji Friday, kicking off his first state visit to the island country.

Fiji is the last leg of his three-nation South Pacific tour, which has already taken him to Australia and New Zealand.