Updated: Wang Yi to arrive in Papua New Guinea; wide range of bilateral cooperation expected
Published: Jun 02, 2022 01:51 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to arrive in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Thursday, the last leg of his trip to the South Pacific island nations, after achieving positive results with other island countries. 

As China's assistance to and cooperation with the Pacific Island countries are based on providing real benefits to local population and those countries, experts forecast that China and PNG will discuss a bilateral cooperation that will include economic cooperation, fishery, climate change and deals under the Belt and Road initiative. 

Like the visit to other Pacific Island countries, the Western media has been sparing no efforts to sensationalize China's peaceful presence in the region. For example, Wang Yi's visit to the PNG was described as coming an "awkward moment" by Australian media ABC as the country is in an election time. 

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 that the visit of Chinese foreign minister to PNG displays China's willingness to deepen friendly ties with PNG regardless of its domestic politics, because China's assistance to and cooperation with Pacific Island countries are based on equality and aim at real benefits to the local development.

Wang Yi also made China's position in dealing with Pacific Island countries clear in a fresh remark during a meeting with Vanuatu President Tallis Obed Moses on Wednesday, saying China's cooperation with Pacific Island countries is aboveboard, open and transparent. China will continue to work with Pacific Island countries in solidarity and mutual assistance.

PNG is the last leg of Wang's trip to the South Pacific island nations. Before his arrival in PNG, Wang visited the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu.

China could play an important role in helping PNG in various regards where the island country has been under great pressure from some Western countries, for example deepening cooperation to boost local employment and urging some Western countries to implement the Paris Agreement. 

China and PNG are stepping up the joint feasibility study of free trade, which is conducive to creating better framework conditions for bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation. PNG welcomes Chinese enterprises to increase investment in downstream processing industries in the fields of energy, minerals, forestry and fishery, China's Ambassador to PNG Zeng Fanhua told the Global Times in a recent exclusive interview. 

In PNG, Wang Yi also met with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Cook Islands, Hon Mark Brown, via video link. Brown believed that the future of the Cook Islands will include close connections with China and expressed a willingness to push bilateral ties to step forward over the next 25 years. Both Wang Yi and Brown agreed to launch more third-party cooperation which had successfully boosted local development.

Wang noted that those who often misstate and smear bilateral cooperation fostering an outdated mindset of geopolitical rivalry have no market among friends of island countries. China believes that island countries have wisdom and capability to overcome short-term difficulties, enhance solidarity and adhere to open regionalism.

On Thursday in a virtual meeting with Wang Yi, John Haglelgam, Former President of the Federated States of Micronesia and President of the Micronesia-China Friendship Association (MCFA) noted that he was proud to make the strategic decision to establish diplomatic ties with China 32 years ago. Micronesia is sincerely grateful for China’s strong support in Micronesia’s struggle for sovereignty and independence.

China is a sincere development partner of Micronesia. China’s assistance comes with no political strings attached which greatly helps the country improve living standards, governance, and promote sustainable development, Haglelgam said. 

Different from some other big powers, China has always been committed to treating all developing countries, especially small and medium-sized countries, with sovereign equality and sincerity, as China shares with them common historical experiences. China understands well the importance of sovereign equality and national dignity for small and medium-sized countries, foreign minister Wang stressed in meeting with Vanuatu President Moses.

Moses highly agreed with the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind raised by China, saying Vanuatu also believes people of all countries, regardless of race, nationality or class, should equally enjoy the rights to peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom. 

China has proved with practical actions that it is a true friend that Vanuatu can trust. Vanuatu will continue to firmly adhere to the one-China principle and regard it as a cornerstone to promote greater development of China-Vanuatu relations, Moses noted. 

Moses detailed that China always pays attention to Vanuatu's needs, gives priority to helping improve local people's livelihood and build Vanuatu's infrastructure, which has brought great benefits to the Vanuatu people, and the Vanuatu government and people will never forget this.