Suva, Fiji:The People’s Republic of China has continued their support to the region through the China – Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund with USD 1.05 million being handed over last Friday to the Forum’s Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor.
“The Pacific region is grateful for the strong relationship we have with China and their ongoing support through this fund,” said the Dame Meg during the handover.
“I’d particularly like to thank you for the ongoing support to the Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI China) office in Beijing. The trade relationships we have with China are very important and the work of this office continues to help in their development.”
China’s Ambassador ZHANG Ping said “China always attaches great importance to the relationship with Pacific Island Countries, and looks forward to further enhancing the bilateral dialogue, exchanges and cooperation in various fields and persists to provide assistance and aid within its capacity. We sincerely welcome the Pacific Island Countries participation in the cooperation of ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative to realise common development through win-win cooperation. The China-PIF Cooperative Fund was established in 2000 to support trade, investment, tourism and personal exchange between China and Forum countries. One of the key initiatives under the fund is PTI China which works closely with Forum Country Embassies in Beijing to develop and strengthen networks between Pacific businesses and Chinese markets.
Trade statistics released by PTI China last year showed that the fourteen Forum Island Countries exported $2.5 billion worth of goods to China in 2015, up from $2 billion in 2014.China’s exports to the Forum Island Countries in the same year doubled from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $5 billion.
Recently, the Fund has also enabled the China-PIFS Regional Scholarship Scheme which doubled its intake last year and has seen more than 80 students study a wide range of subjects including engineering, international law, medicine, information & communications technology, agriculture, and commerce in Chinese institutions.
The handover follows the trip to China earlier this year by the Secretary General during which she met with Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi,who reaffirmed that China stood ready to support Pacific Island Countries and encouragedthem to take up the opportunities offered by its Belt and Road strategy for economic and people to people cooperation.
China has been a Dialogue Partner of the Forum since 1990.