China 'so advanced' on ecological civilization, now bringing eco-development to Pacific Island Countries: Fiji's ambassador to China
Published: Jun 05, 2023 09:48 PM
Pictured is Huawu village in the city of Bijie. Based on its resource endowment and unique ethnic customs, the village has promoted the integrated development of agriculture, culture and tourism. Photo: Liu Caiyu/GT

Pictured is Huawu village in the city of Bijie. Based on its resource endowment and unique ethnic customs, the village has promoted the integrated development of agriculture, culture and tourism. Photo: Liu Caiyu/GT

China is "so advanced" on ecological civilization and now is working with Pacific Island Countries (PICs) to bring this type of development to help regional countries to develop, said Manasa R. Tagicakibau, Fiji's ambassador to China. 

"From the first day of visiting to Guizhou, I was fascinated by the scenery, the landscape of Guizhou. It's mountainous with a lot of rivers running through," Tagicakibau told the Global Times in an exclusive interview during his visit to Southwest China's Guizhou Province on Monday.

The ambassador mentioned "impressive" three times describing his feelings to the province, saying "just the landscape itself fascinates someone who is new to this type of places."

Seeing a mountainous place like this, the ambassador said, one may wonder how people can survive here. 

"You look at the development that's been achieved by Guizhou authorities together with the local people, ethnic minorities and the population at large, in terms of developing the area to make this mountainous area a very safe and harmonious and happy place to live in. I'm impressed."

While the local government is moving toward development modernization, bringing in new technology, new infrastructure in order to make life easier for the people, they are making sure that the ecology is not disrupted, Tagicakibau said. 

Tagicakibau told the Global Times that on ecological civilization, the Guizhou local authorities and the Chinese government under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, have gone "so far ahead in advance."

The ambassador said Guizhou shared a lot of similarities to some of the mountainous regions in Fiji, but there is a lot to be done in Fiji in terms of accessibility and this is an area that Fiji can learn from China.

"We have a lot of similarities, but for Fiji and the South Pacific countries, we have a lot to learn from China, and now China is working with our pacific islands to help us bring this type of development," Tagicakibau said. 

The Chinese government has built a number of bridges and highways for Fiji and while doing that, China is ensuring that the local environment and ecology is protected and preserved for the livelihoods of the people that live there, the ambassador said. 

China has implemented nearly 500 complete plant projects, technical assistance, in-kind assistance and concessional loan projects in PICs, helped them build important infrastructures such as roads, bridges, wharfs, hospitals, schools and stadiums, and helped train about 10,000 professionals in various fields, according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In recent years, relations between China and PICs have flourished, and exchanges and cooperation have been expanding. Back in 2022 when Wang Yi, the then State Councilor and Foreign Minister, visited the PICs, he said China stands ready to build six new platforms for cooperation with PICs in a bid to inject sustained new impetus to cooperation between the two sides.

The six cooperation platforms involve reserve of emergency supplies, climate change, poverty reduction and agricultural cooperation and disaster mitigation and juncao technology.

From 1992 to 2021, trade volume between China and PICs having diplomatic relations with China registered an average annual increase of 13 percent and expanded by more than 30 times. Chinese businesses have undertaken projects in PICs with a total volume of more than $20 billion.

Tagicakibau currently is visiting Guizhou together with diplomats from 19 countries including Yemen, Cyprus, Greece and Malta and a senior official from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. 

During their visit, diplomats visited Guiyang, Bijie and Anshun to learn more about Guizhou's achievements in fields such as ecological civilization, green poverty reduction, and technological development.