Sovereign states have the right to choose how they get along with other countries: King of Tonga responds to China-Tonga cooperation
Published: Jun 01, 2022 02:30 PM Updated: Jun 01, 2022 02:27 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy
Photo: Courtesy of Chinese Embassy

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with King of Tonga Tupou VI in Nuku'alofa on Tuesday. Addressing that some people have made some comments on the cooperation between Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and China, King Tupou VI said that sovereign states have the right to choose how they get along with other countries.

In their meeting, Tupou VI said that when Tonga was confronted with the quadruple challenges of the volcano, tsunami, flight interruption and the COVID-19 pandemic, China came to its assistance from thousands of miles away, winning wide praise and heartfelt thanks from the Tongan people.

"Facts have proved that the friendship with China has always been reflected by concrete actions rather than empty promises. Tonga firmly pursues the one-China principle and will continue to take it as the cornerstone to continuously push forward bilateral relations," he said.

Tupou VI said that he was glad to see the success of the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting and thanked the Chinese delegation for paying a visit to South Pacific Island Countries despite the pandemic.

Wang took a historic trip to eight regional countries and jointly chaired the second foreign ministers' meeting in Fiji on Monday, during which China and the countries reached a new consensus to deepen cooperation on sectors including poverty alleviation, climate change and agriculture.

Wang said this visit to Tonga, which is a part of his trip to the South Pacific region, embodies a concrete action to practice the diplomatic philosophy that all countries, big or small, are equal, and China will take specific measures to support Tonga in speeding up post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

"China will, as always, respect Tonga's unique national conditions and governance model, and support Tonga in safeguarding its independence, sovereignty and social stability," Wang stressed.

Tupou VI highly appreciated China's efforts to set up a reserve of emergency supplies for PICs and carry out cooperation in poverty alleviation, climate change response and others.

After the meeting, Wang Yi met with Tongan Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni and attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents on disaster prevention and mitigation, agriculture and fisheries, health and others.

"Both Tonga and China adhere to the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and respect for sovereignty. Tonga will continue to firmly pursue the one-China principle and is staunchly committed to enhancing the friendship between Tonga and China. Tonga looks forward to strengthening the synergy of Belt and Road cooperation with China and deepening practical cooperation in various fields." Siaosi Sovaleni said.

Leaders of PICs recently said that the South Pacific Island Countries are not the "backyard" of any country, but independent and sovereign countries that have the right to decide their own affairs.

"China fully understands and supports that, and is willing to work with all parties in an open manner to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with PICs, while jointly advocating and practicing multilateralism, opposing all unilateral bullying acts, and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, especially small and medium-sized countries," Wang noted.

Global Times