On March 11, Ambassador Wang Lutong accepted an invitation to provide Radio New Zealand with an exclusive interview focused on the current state of relations between China and the Pacific Islands, economic and technological cooperation and other relevant policies.
Ambassador Wang noted that there is a long history of friendship between the people of China and the Pacific Islands, and that China and the Pacific Islands are both developing countries. China has consistently advocated that a country, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, stands as an equal member of the international community. China and the Pacific Islands have mutual respect for the political stance of the other, have cooperated on mutually beneficial economic projects, and support each other on international matters.
Last November, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a State Visit to Fiji, which included a group meeting in Nadi with the leaders of the eight Pacific Island nations that have diplomatic relations with China. The two sides decided to establish a strategic partnership promoting mutual respect and common development. This is the first visit to the Pacific Island region by the head of state of China and opened a new chapter in the relations between China and the Pacific Islands.
Ambassador Wang noted that China, as the largest developing country in the world, actively supports the development of the Pacific Islands. The assistance provided by China to the Pacific islands includes the construction of public facilities and infrastructure, such as road, bridge, school, hospital, office building and stadium projects, as well as technical cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and clean energy. China has also sent medical teams to a number of Pacific islands countries. Last November in Fiji, President Xi announced a package plan to support the economic and social development of the Pacific Islands. This plan will assist to enhance the sustainable development of the Pacific Islands.
According to Ambassador Wang, the impact of the global financial crisis has not yet subsided and uncertainty around the international economic recovery has increased. Primary factors impacting on global demand include the large number of developing countries that have not fully realized their economic potential, which has led to unbalanced regional development and a widening gap between rich and poor. Active cooperation between the Pacific and China will not only assist the Pacific Islands to move from poverty and further develop economically, but will also have flow on benefits for the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.
Ambassador Wang noted that the water supply project jointly developed by China, New Zealand and the Cook Islands is the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Cook Islands. Upon its completion, this project will provide healthy and clean drinking water for Cook Island residents. With the joint efforts of the three parties, construction of the project was officially commenced in February 2014, and is progressing smoothly. China attaches great importance to this project and will continue to work closely with all parties to ensure the completion of the project on time, and to a high standard.