Xi meets Solomon Islands PM

By Yang Sheng, Sun Haoran and Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/9 23:53:41

China to help South Pacific nations reduce their unreasonable reliance on West: expert

Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare Photo: VCG

"Recently, China and the Solomon Islands have formally established diplomatic relations on the basis of the one-China principle, which conforms to the trend of the times and benefits the peoples of the two countries," Xi said during the meeting with the visiting prime minister at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse.

He encouraged both countries to take the opportunity of the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the joint construction of the Belt and Road, align their development strategies and boost cooperation to help improve the Solomon Islands people's livelihood as well as the island country's capability of independent and sustainable development, Xinhua reported.

"The two countries are highly complementary and have great potential for cooperation in terms of transportation, energy, infrastructure and tourism," Yu Lei, chief research fellow at the research center for Pacific island countries of Liaocheng University in East China's Shandong Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"Although the Solomon Islands is rich in forestry, fisheries and mineral resources, the country is rather poor," said Yu. "Because of historical colonial aggressions by Western powers, its resources have been exploited by colonialists and the people from the country have not benefited much." 

According to the data from the World Bank website, the GDP per capita of the Solomon Islands was $2,162 in 2018, whereas the world average was $11,298.

"Even now the economic and energy lifeblood of the Solomon Islands is still in the hands of Western countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the UK and France," Yu said.

"China, on the other hand, will cooperate with the Solomon Islands to develop local resources in a protective and sustainable way which will benefit local people and create taxes for their country," Yu said. 

The Solomon Islands cut "diplomatic ties" with the island of Taiwan on September 16 and established official relations with China on September 21.

The Solomon Islands will become a tourist destination for Chinese citizens after the establishment of diplomatic ties, "which will generate great opportunities for people-to-people interactions, sub-national exchanges and tourism cooperation between the two nations," Xi said.

 "The tourism exchange between the Chinese mainland and the Solomon Islands was affected a lot due to the pro-secession stance of Taiwan's current leader Tsai Ing-wen," said Yu. 

"But after the Solomon Islands becomes a destination for tourists from the Chinese mainland, the industry will be greatly developed which will increase the local income."

Zheng Yangxu, a 26-year-old Chinese volunteer teacher at the Chung Wah School in the Solomon Islands for two years, told the Global Times that the visa application to the South Pacific country was usually troublesome, and now she hopes for a simplified procedure.

"As global warming and rising sea levels may cause catastrophes for these South Pacific island countries, China can play a significant role in helping them meet the challenges of climate change after the US left the Paris Agreement," Yu said.

Economic cooperation between the two countries was developing "very fast," a Chinese resident of the Solomon Islands told the Global Times. 

"For example, even the Chinese national high-tech enterprise Sam Group has come here to sign cooperation agreements," said the resident, who only gave the surname Lin. 

Lin said that Huawei has also engaged in early development and technical support for the country's communication terminals.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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