The Government of the People’s Republic of China today handed over US$650,000 to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) towards various projects in support of Forum Island Countries. In his address, H.E Huang Yong, the Chinese Ambassador to Fiji said, “We appreciate the work done by the Forum to promote social and economic development in the South Pacific Region and we’re proud to be part of the international effort to enhance regional integration and development.”
Since becoming a Post Forum Dialogue Partner in 1990, China has maintained cooperative relations with the Pacific Islands Forum and this commitment was further aided today in its cash donation of US$250,000 of which will fund the Pacific Islands Trades & Invest office in Beijing. The remaining US$400,000 will go towards the China – PIFS Development Cooperation Fund.
Reflecting on the relationship between the Pacific Islands Forum and the People’s Republic of China, the Secretary General (SG) of PIFS, Tuiloma Neroni Slade noted that the Forum and the People’s Republic of China had built an important economic relationship particularly in the areas of trade development and investment spanning over several decades.”
Mr Slade acknowledged the Forum’s shared vision with China in achieving sustainable economic growth in Forum Island Countries in the context of the Pacific Plan which addresses significantly, regional integration and cooperation.
He added that China’s assistance effort is one of “understanding the economic and social development needs and interests of the region.”
“And we stand ready as always to work together to achieve tangible outcomes for our members.”
The Chinese Government’s on-going commitment to PIFS both financially and politically in the past 12 months, notably includes China’s agreement to the name change of the Forum’s Beijing office from the Pacific Islands Forum Trade Office to Pacific Trade and Invest, as well as supporting the placement of a new Pacific Island staff member in office.
China continues to provide support through scholarships it offers under the China – PIFS Regional Scholarship Programme. A total of 10 scholarships were provided in 2011, to students from Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati and Solomon Islands.
The SG further noted that the growing public interest in the scholarship programme was an indication of the importance of the relationship established between the Forum and China in terms of development.
In his closing remarks, the SG extended an invitation to China to participate in stakeholder consultations towards the refreshed process of the Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy, and the efforts to establish a Pacific Regional Trade and Development Facility for the benefit of communities across the Pacific region.
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