Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has told the President of China Xi Jinping that the support Fiji received from China over the last seven years has aided our national development.
While welcoming the Chinese President last night, Bainimarama said that the last seven years has been marked by a steady increase in Chinese assistance to Fiji through favourable lending arrangements, infrastructure development, technical assistance and cultural exchanges.
Bainimarama added that he believes that our close relationship is based on a mutual respect for the other’s national sovereignty, the belief that they have the right to chart our own course as nations.
In this respect, China has been a true friend to Fiji.
He said China never tried to interfere in Fiji’s internal affairs or tell Fiji what was best for them as a nation.
Instead, China was there in our time of need, when others in the region had turned their backs on us because they did not understand their vision for Fiji and what they were trying to accomplish here.
Bainimarama said they have especially appreciated that China has been willing to work closely with them to ensure that its assistance is in line with Government’s priorities and initiatives.
This has allowed us to work together to target specific areas and achieve the best results for the people of Fiji.
He said since Fiji became the first Pacific island country to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1975, the bonds of friendship between us have continued to grow.
He also said that it shows just how much Fiji’s relations with China have strengthened in the last few years.
He added the President’s visit, is symbolic of the close relationship between our two nations now.
Bainimarama said they are honoured to welcome President Xi Jinping, not only as the first Chinese President to visit Fiji, but also as the first Head of State to visit us following our successful election in September.
He further added that people from the village of Nakorotubu, Ra who gave the traditional i-Taukei welcome followed a protocol that has been used to welcome visitors for centuries.
Bainimarama said they want China to be fully engaged in the Pacific.
He said during the Chinese President’s stay here, they will explore ways to boost people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges as well as to enhance trade and development cooperation.
He said he looks forward to exploring new opportunities and to signing memorandums of understanding that will broaden and deepen our relationship.
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