Chinese provinces stress cooperation with South Pacific countries amid foreign minister’s visit to region

Photo taken on July 5, 2020 shows the beautiful scenery at Nanuku Auberge Resort on the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji. (Xinhua/Zhang Yongxing)

As Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi embarked on a trip to the South Pacific region, three Chinese provinces – Shandong and Fujian provinces in eastern China and Guangdong in southern China – on Wednesday highlighted the fruitful results of their cooperation with relevant nations in areas such as economy, trade, health and education, pledging to further strengthen cooperation with Pacific island states .

The remarkable results of China’s three provinces’ cooperation with South Pacific countries underscored China’s enduring, deep and extensive exchanges with the region and the bright prospect of deeper cooperation based on mutual respect and the winning outcome. -win, in stark contrast to West’s lip services and geopolitical gambits, pundits noted Thursday.

In 2000, Fujian and PNG Eastern Highlands Province established a sister province relationship, initiating exchanges and cooperation between the province and Pacific island countries. For example, Fujian launched the Juncao and Upland Rice Technology Project in the Eastern Highlands in 2001 and trained 623 people, playing an important role in alleviating poverty and ensuring food security. .

Beginning with exchanges on Juncao technology, cooperation between Fujian and Pacific island countries has extended to investment and the culture, education and health sectors. In November 2020, Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Co signed a memorandum with the local government on the construction of the comprehensive multifunctional fishery industrial park on Daru Island in Western Province of PNG.

Meanwhile, many companies in Shandong and Guangdong provinces, including Xinfa Group, Yanjian Group and Shandong Lidao Oceanic Technology Com, have also been involved in infrastructure, agriculture and fisheries projects in countries such as Fiji. , Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia to support the local economy. and social development.

China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), which entered the South Pacific market in 2003, told the Global Times that the company actively hires local people to work on its projects and teaches them job skills. With higher incomes, the lives of local workers have greatly improved.

“As the company actively integrates into local society and assumes its social responsibility, local people sometimes give papayas and coconuts to our workers, reflecting their appreciation towards us,” the CCECC said.

“With the advantages of fast construction speed, competitive prices and high quality, Chinese construction companies have strong competitiveness in the South Pacific region,” the CCECC said, noting that there will be more opportunities in terms of green energy and green architecture in the region.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese provinces have also reached out to the best of their ability to Pacific island countries by donating medical supplies, sharing experiences and insights on the treatment and control of the pandemic.

A Shandong provincial health commission official, surnamed Sun, told the Global Times on Thursday that the first group of doctors to help Kiribati will work at Tungaru Central Hospital.

After studying the local situation and based on mutual respect, the Chinese medical team will join medical services for local patients, including Chinese nationals as well as local Kiribati residents, Sun noted.

The Chinese team will also provide training to local medical workers upon request, Sun said, adding that drugs and treatment devices have been shipped to Kiribati in advance.

“Whether for development or disaster relief, these projects are urgently needed in these countries. In this regard, their cooperation with China not only nurtures their capabilities, but also increases their confidence to combat difficulties,” said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of China Institute. of International Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“Wang’s upcoming visit is expected to result in multiple support agreements being discussed, and China’s support will actually help strengthen their ability to deal with challenges in many aspects,” Ruan said.

As an extension of the 21st century maritime Silk Road, Pacific island countries enjoy broad prospects for exchanges and cooperation with Chinese provinces, according to experts and business circles.

Unlike some Western countries that regard Pacific island countries as their backyard, China’s cooperation with these nations is based on mutual respect and win-win results, Ruan said, noting that there are a natural proximity between China and these nations as developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

From 1992 to 2021, China’s trade with Pacific island countries with which it has established diplomatic relations increased from $153 million to $5.3 billion, with an average annual growth rate of 13% and a multiplication by more than 30 during the last 30 years. By the end of 2021, these Pacific island countries had received direct investments worth $2.72 billion from China.

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