BY KEITH JACKSON
Ambassador Qiu Bohua was speaking at a reception in Port Moresby to mark China's National Day. Prime minister Peter O'Neill and president of the Bougainville Autonomous Province, John Momis, were among the guests at the function.
“Thirty-five years ago, the PNG Government made a far-sighting decision to establish diplomatic relations with China,: Mr Qiu said. “Since then, the bilateral relations have made significant progress on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.”
“We highly appreciate that the PNG side always adheres to the One China policy and supports China's peaceful reunification.”
The ambassador said that trade between the two countries has been booming.
“PNG has become China's biggest trade partner and investment destination among Pacific Islands,” he said.
“Our people-to-people exchanges have been widening, effectively promoting friendship and mutual understanding. Our cooperation in international and regional affairs has been intensifying, sharing more common interests and similar concepts.”
Mr Qiu said that, even though China is still a developing country, it has been providing aid to the best of its ability to PNG.
“During the past years, the Chinese government has spared no efforts to support and assist PNG with the implementation of a dozen aid projects,” he said.
These included the Sir John Guise Stadium, Wawin National High School, Goroka University, Mt Hagen Agriculture Technical Cooperation, and medical teams working in Port Moresby General Hospital.
“Over 200 PNG students were granted Chinese government scholarships to undertake degree studies in China,” he said, “and around 400 government officials and technical personnel were invited to China to attend various programs of different sectors for capacity training purpose.”
Mr Qiu said that 2011 is another fruitful year for cooperation with projects including the Usino Junction-Yamagi Road, Phase II of Mt Hagen agriculture technical cooperation, the Distant Education Network, the Integrated Government Information System Network and the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone.
“We are also looking forward to the groundbreaking of the International Convention Centre project in Port Moresby,” he said. “All these are the sweet fruits yielding from the long-term stable and friendly bilateral relationship between China and PNG.”
Mr Qiu described the controversial Ramu Nickel project as a good example of bilateral cooperation.
“The project is a win-win for our two countries. It is my firm belief that with the smooth running of Ramu Nickel, the confidence of foreign investors in PNG will be boosted, and the bilateral economic relations between our two countries will be further lifted to a higher level,” he said. “We hope to see the first production soon to put new vigour into the PNG economy.”
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, 7 October