Cooperation between China and PICs targets no third party, seeks no exclusive rights: Chinese Ambassador to Samoa
Published: Jun 01, 2022 08:23 PM
National flags of Samoa (left) and China Photo: VCG

National flags of Samoa (left) and China Photo: VCG

The China-Solomon Islands security pact, heavily hyped by West as a "destabilizer of the South Pacific," is based on the islands' needs and their consent. "It is never China's foreign policy, nor is it the Chinese style, to impose deals on others," Chao Xiaoliang, Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

China-Samoa relations have stood the test of the changing international landscape and have always maintained a positive and sound momentum of development since the two countries established diplomatic relations 47 years ago, Chao said. 

Over the past 47 years, the two sides have deepened political trust and have become comprehensive strategic partners featuring mutual respect and common development. 

The Samoan government has firmly adhered to the one-China principle and has provided valuable support to China on many major issues concerning China's core interests, Chao noted. 

China also unswervingly supports the Samoan people in pursuing a development path suited to their own national conditions and realizing sustainable socioeconomic development. Apia Park, Upolu Island Drinking Water Project, the government office building, national medical center, training center for the disabled, China-Samoa Demonstration Farm, Siumu Primary School, and China-Samoa Friendship Park… a great number of projects have reflected the true picture of China supporting Samoa's economic development and improving people's livelihood. 

In addition, China has sent more than 140 medical workers to Samoa to provide assistance since the 1980s. With financial aid from China, more than 5,000 Samoans from various walks of life have gone to China for study or training, and more than 1,000 have studied Chinese at the Confucius Institute at the National University of Samoa.

Exchanges between both sides are also expanding, the ambassador added, covering more than 20 areas including trade and investment, marine environment, disaster prevention and reduction, poverty alleviation, and health care.

China and South Pacific Island countries, including Samoa, are developing countries, Chao said, and they share broad common interests in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and promoting international fairness and justice among others. 

Answering a question raised by the Global Times about whether China's presence in the region poses a competitive role with countries such as Australia, Chao said the cooperation between China and Samoa as well as other Pacific Island nations targets no third party and seeks no exclusive rights. 

He stressed that China has no intention of competing with other countries, and has always opposed the zero-sum game. China is willing to enhance communication with whichever country that cares for Pacific Island nations, and to conduct more trilateral cooperation based on respecting the island nations' will.

A security pact was signed between China and the Solomon Islands in April, which some in the West deemed a "destabilizer of the South Pacific." Elaborating on the pact, Chao said that it follows three principles. 

The first is to fully respect the national sovereignty of Solomon Islands. The cooperation is based on Solomon Islands' needs and requirements and on Solomon Islands' consent. "It is never China's foreign policy, nor is it the Chinese style, to impose deals on others, interfere in others' internal affairs, or damage their interests," Chao noted. 

The second is to help maintain the social stability of Solomon Islands. The security cooperation includes assistance in maintaining social order, protecting lives and property as well as conducting humanitarian relief and natural disaster response. It is aboveboard and frank, not imposing on others, not targeting third parties and not intending to establish military bases.

The third principle is in parallel with regional arrangements. China supports the existing regional security cooperation arrangements in the Solomon Islands. At the same time, its deal and the existing arrangements complement each other, sharing the same objectives and interests. China-Solomon Islands security cooperation conforms to the common interests of Solomon Islands and the South Pacific region.

"Pacific Island countries are sovereign and independent states, and have the right to make their own choices," the Chinese ambassador stressed, urging relevant parties to see the security pact objectively and stop making irresponsible remarks. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa on Saturday - the third stop on Wang's visit to the Pacific region, with the two sides signing a cooperation agreement on economy, technology and culture, according to a release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

She said that Samoa firmly insists on the one-China principle and not interfering in China's internal affairs on the question of the island of Taiwan.

For his part, Wang said that China has always insisted that all countries no matter their size and strength are equal. As the biggest developing country in the world, China has always stood with developing countries and called on justice for them since China shares similar experiences throughout history and a common mission for development. China's such diplomatic tradition will never change, he noted.