On November 22, local time, President Xi Jinping held a group meeting in Nadi with Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji, President Emanuel Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi of Samoa, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill of Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Joe Natuman of Vanuatu, Prime Minister Henry Puna of the Cook Islands, Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano of Tonga, Prime Minister Toke Talagi of Niue and other leaders of the Pacific Island countries, discussing overall plan for cooperation and development and agreeing to establish a strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. Xi Jinping chaired the meeting and delivered a keynote speech, elaborating China's policy and measure in deepening relations with the Pacific Island countries under the new situation, and stressing that China is sincere friend and cooperative partner of the island countries.
Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech that, although China and the Pacific Island countries are far apart geographically, both peoples enjoy natural intimacy and time-honored friendly exchanges. Since the 1970s, China has established diplomatic relationship with eight Pacific Island countries in succession, and bilateral friendly cooperative relations have thus entered the fast track for development. Currently, the traditional friendship between China and the Pacific Island countries are more solid with increasingly expanded common interests and broadened cooperation prospect, therefore, bilateral relations are embracing a sound opportunity of riding the tide. China's focus on developing relations with the Pacific Island countries will only be strengthened, not weakened, and its investment will only increase, not reduce.
Xi Jinping put forward the following proposals on developing and enhancing China's relations with the Pacific Island countries under the new situation.
First, build a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. China respects social system and development path independently chosen by each island country in line with their national conditions, supports them managing and deciding regional affairs in their own way, and backs them equally participating in international affairs and safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests.
Second, enhance high-level exchanges. China welcomes leaders of the Pacific Island countries to visit China, thus to well outline strategic planning and top-level designing for bilateral relations, and is willing to expand dialogues and exchanges between government departments, legislative bodies and political parties with the Pacific Island countries, and continuously bring into full play the mechanism dialogues such as the forum between China and the Pacific Island countries on economic development and cooperation.
Third, deepen practical cooperation. China put forward the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road initiative, and we sincerely hope to share development experience and outcome with each island country, sincerely welcome all the island countries to take the train of China's rapid development, and are willing to deepen cooperation with the island countries in economy, trade, agriculture, fishery, ocean, energy resources, infrastructure construction and other fields. China will offer zero tariff treatment for 97 percent tax items of exports of the least developed countries. China will continuously back key production projects as well as the construction of infrastructure and livelihood projects in the island countries.
Fourth, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In the five years to come, China will offer 2000 scholarship opportunities and 5000 study and training places of all kinds to the island countries. China is willing to strengthen exchanges with all circles of the island countries, and will continue dispatching medical team to relevant island countries and encourage more Chinese tourists to travel there.
Fifth, intensify multilateral coordination. China is willing to enhance communication with all the island countries in global governance, poverty reduction, disaster relief, food security, energy security, humanitarian assistance and other issues, safeguarding common interest of the two sides and the other developing countries. China will support the island countries dealing with climate change under the framework of South-South cooperation, provide them with materials for energy conservation and environmental protection as well as equipments for renewable energy, and carry out cooperation with them in tsunami warning, sea-level monitoring and other areas. China will continue actively participating in regional cooperation mechanisms of the island countries such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Pacific Islands Development Forum, and support the efforts of the island countries in uniting for self-development, offering mutual help and safeguarding regional stability and prosperity.
Xi Jinping said that as a Fijian proverb goes,"A bud will give birth to millions of fruits." And China also has an ancient saying, "A good harvest depends on the spring sowing."The relations between China and the Pacific Island countries are at a new historical starting point, and we are willing to join efforts with all the island countries to seek true friendship, conduct practical cooperation and yield win-win results, thus to together realize the dream of development, prosperity and harmony.
The meeting was in a friendly and practical atmosphere. The leaders of the island countries thanked Xi Jinping for visiting the Pacific Island region and his proposal on holding this meeting. They fully support the building of the strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. They expressed that China has always highly valued, respected and supported the island countries, and is their sincere friend and partner. In the new era, China's policy towards the island countries is line with the traditional friendship, and its proposals are powerful and tangible, meeting the needs of the island countries, conducing to their sustained development and benefiting their people. China's initiatives of building the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have offered important opportunities to the island countries. The people of the island countries are expecting bilateral cooperation, and are willing to take the train of China's fast development,and enhance exchanges and cooperation in all fields and deepen friendship with China, so as to advance hand in hand for their respective beautiful dreams.
Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Yang Jiechi and others were present.