Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
promised on Wednesday to offer 3 billion yuan of preferential loans in the next
three years to boost cooperation between the business communities of China and
the Pacific island countries.
Premier Wen, who arrived here Tuesday for an official
visit, made remarks while delivering a keynote speech at the opening of the
First Ministerial Conference of the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic
Development and Cooperation Forum.
Wen said the move is made as part of efforts to meet the current need of the
Pacific Island countries.
He said the preferential loans will be used to strengthen cooperation in
development of resources, agriculture, forestry, fishery, tourism, textiles and
consumer products manufacturing.
The premier added that the preferential loans will also be used to develop
telecommunications, aviation and ocean shipping.
He said the Chinese government will also set up a special fund to encourage
Chinese companies to invest in the Pacific island countries.
The premier also announced that to support the Pacific island countries in
developing their economy and ease their debt burden, China will give zero-tariff
treatment to the majority of exports to China from the least developed countries
in the region that have diplomatic ties with China.
He said that China will cancel their debts that became mature at the end of
2005 and extend by 10 years the payment of debts contracted by other island
countries that became mature at the end of 2005.
Premier Wen said China will provide free anti-malaria medicines to the island
countries affected by the disease in the next three years to help them to treat
China will continue to send medical teams to the island countries and conduct
annual training courses for health officials, hospital managers and medical
researchers of these countries, he added.
Wen, who is the first Chinese premier to visit a South Pacific island
country, said China is also ready to exchange information on bird flu prevention
and control, and cooperate with the island countries in various ways in this
He added that China will provide training to 2,000 government officials and
technical staff from the island countries over the next three years to assist
them in capacity building.
To accelerate the development of tourism of the Pacific island countries, Wen
said, China has decided to formally approve Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the
Federated States of Micronesia as destinations for Chinese tourists.
Thus, all the seven island countries having diplomatic ties with China are
now approved tourist destinations for Chinese citizens.
Wen said China will provide assistance in building an earthquake or tsunami
early warning and monitoring network in light of the need of the island
countries to improve their capability of managing earthquakes, tsunamis and
other natural disasters.
Fiji is the second leg of Premier Wen's four-nation Asia-Pacific tour which
has taken him to Australia and will take him to New Zealand and Cambodia.