Vanuatu Prime Minster and Chinese President: One Belt, One Road

Source: The Vanuatu Daily Post

In the lead up to APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu Government signed seven different Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation Agreements with the Chinese Government. The signing took place in Port Vila on Friday 9 November 2018 and was officially announced by His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China during his bilateral meeting with Vanuatu delegates at the margin of APEC meeting in Port Moresby.

The signing covered four MOUs, two framework agreements and one protocol agreement. The MOUs includes; MOU on cooperation within the framework of “One Belt One Road” initiative; MOU on Human Resource Development Cooperation; MOU on Promoting friendly exchange between Guangdong Province and Vanuatu; and MOU on establishing the Joint Economic and Trade Commission between Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu and Ministry of Commerce of China.

The two framework agreements include; Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation and the Framework Agreement on Concessional Loan. The final MOU is the protocol on remitting partial debts of government of Vanuatu. The two agreements that are yet to be sign include Fisheries Cooperation Agreement and Air Service Agreement between Vanuatu and China.

The Chinese Leader told Prime Minister Salwai that in addition to the framework agreement on cooperation signed between the two governments China will also expand cooperation into areas such as Tourism and Climate Change. He confirmed that China will encourage more Chinese Tourist to visit Vanuatu and will support regional efforts to address climate change impact, encourage green low carbon and sustainable development.

The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, held individual bilateral meetings with the Leaders of the Pacific Island Countries that have diplomatic relations with China prior to the inauguration of the APEC Economic Leaders meeting in Port Moresby on 18 November 2018.

These include: Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Niue, Tonga, Federate State of Micronesia, and Cook Islands.

The Pacific Leaders were invited by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Niel, to attend the APEC meeting as observers, which also created a great opportunity for them to meet other world leaders and the members of the APEC. In the Pacific region, there are only three countries that are members of the APEC, namely Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia. The Pacific Leaders had also an opportunity to have an informal dialogue with APEC members and discussed with them their common agenda such as climate change, Blue Ocean, and digital connectivity.

During the bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to meet with President Xi and to discuss ways the two countries can upgrade their bilateral relationship from Strategic Partnership featuring “mutual respect and common development” to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership featuring “mutual respect and common development”.

Vanuatu-China established diplomatic relations in 1982. Since then, the two countries have treated each other with great respect and as equals, and have pursued mutual benefits and win- win cooperation. Over the years, this relationship has stood the test of changing international circumstances and stayed as strong as ever.

Prime Minister Salwai thanked the Chinese Government for the level of cooperation between the two countries and the on-going support and increased assistance that Vanuatu received ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations and become true friends.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged that in recent years, bilateral ties between the two countries have entered a new stage of rapid growth and has brought a lot of benefits to the people of Vanuatu at all levels. This is reflected through increased investment in major key infrastructures such as roads, wharfs, jetties, and public buildings.

At the political level, Prime Minister Salwai reaffirmed Vanuatu’s commitment to the One China Policy.

He said the “One China Policy” is and will remain the cornerstone of the relations between Beijing and Port Vila. As part of this commitment Vanuatu is looking forward to continue the dialogue with China on how to cement mutual trust, expand practical cooperation and increase people to people exchange in order to take Vanuatu-China bilateral ties to a new level. Vanuatu remain committed to work collaboratively with the Chinese Government to upgrade the bilateral relation between the two countries to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Prime Minister underlined the fact that Vanuatu’s relationship with China is premised on the principle of mutual respect of each other’s political independence, peaceful coexistence, territorial integrity and sovereignty, and with a strong developmental component.

He further reiterated the government’s willingness to enhance cooperation on climate change, One Road One Belt initiatives and Finance with China.

With the upgrading of relationship, it is hopeful that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will deliver tangible benefits to government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Salwai extend the best wishes of the Government and People of the Republic of Vanuatu to the Government and People’s Republic of China as they celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up to the World.

In response, President Xi Jinping thanked the Vanuatu for its close friendship with China and acknowledged that practical relationship between the two countries has yielded great benefits at all levels.

“My Government and People’s Republic of China attaches great importance to the development of Vanuatu- China relationship,” President Xi said, calling on both sides to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral mechanisms.

“As part of our commitment to Comprehenship Strategic Partnership China will support as always Vanuatu’s national construction and sustainable development, encourage more capable enterprises to invest in Vanuatu, as well as promote cooperation in such fields as trade, infrastructure construction, transportation, communication, culture, education and healthcare within the One Belt, One Road Initiative framework.”

Furthermore, President Xi Jinping announced the Chinese Government’s approval to Vanuatu’s request to open up a consulate general in Guangzou Province, which will further strengthen development cooperation between the two countries.

“I believe this will enhance our relationship by promoting business investment in Vanuatu and people to people relationship,” said President Xi.

Posted in: Oceania Asia

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.