On the morning of May 4th, 2018, Ambassador Wu Xi attended the handover ceremony for the Chinese Government's aid project, Apii Nikao School, in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands. Over 500 people attended the event, including the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands HE Tom Marsters and his wife, Prime Minister HE Henry Puna and his wife, Minister of Finance The Hon Mark Brown, Secretary of the Ministry of Education Danielle Tungane Cochrane, Economic and Commercial Counsellor Huang Yuefeng from the Chinese Embassy, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Vice President Chen Sichang, teachers and students of Apii Nikao School and community representatives. Ambassador Wu Xi and Prime Minister HE Henry Puna addressed the audience and together pronounced the school open.
On behalf of the Chinese Government, Ambassador Wu Xi expressed her congratulations on the successful completion of the Apii Nikao School Project. Ambassador Wu noted that this project is a clear expression of the sincere support rendered by China to the Cook Islands for its economic and social development. She described it also as the best proof of friendship between the two peoples. Despite the fact that China and the Cook Islands are geographically far apart, both countries are developing countries, and have forged a good relationship of mutual aid and support over the years.
Ambassador Wu noted that over the past 21 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Cook Islands, cooperation between the two countries in all fields has continued to deepen. China will continue to work closely with the Cook Islands on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit to promote bilateral relations to a higher level so as to benefit the two peoples and make positive contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region.
Ambassador Wu expressed her gratitude to CCECC for its arduous efforts to build Apii Nikao School, and also thanked the Cook Islands Government and its people for their full support for this project. She extended her best wishes to all the teachers and students of Apii Nikao School for their future work and study.
In his speech, Prime Minister Puna expressed his sincere thanks to the Chinese Government, the Chinese people and all the Chinese staff who participated in the project. Mr Puna observed that Apii Nikao School is not only a building, but also the best gift from China to the Cook Islands. It is a clear demonstration of the close relationship between the two countries which has set a new standard for education in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands and China differ greatly in terms of landmass, population and level of development; however, we remain good friends who respect and help each other. Over the past 21 years, since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, bilateral relations have progressed smoothly with great achievements, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples and setting a benchmark for diplomatic relations. The Cook Islands is keen to work with China to further promote bilateral relations and deepen friendship between the two countries.
The Principal of Apii Nikao School, Elizabeth Kapi, warmly welcomed the distinguished guests from China and the Cook Islands. On behalf of the faculty and students, she expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the relevant departments and institutions of the two Governments and CCECC. She also remarked that the completion of this project has fulfilled the dreams of many students by providing them with a better study environment to lay a solid foundation for their future.
The atmosphere of the ceremony was warm and friendly with much applause. The teachers and students of Apii Nikao School welcomed Ambassador Wu with a traditional ceremony featuring local songs and dances. After formal speeches, Ambassador Wu, Prime Minister Puna and his wife, and Mr Masters and his wife took a tour around Apii Nikao School.