Time flies. It has been two years since i came to Vanuatu as Chinese Ambassador. I’m not a stranger to this beautiful land since i worked here as a diplomat from 2001 to 2003. For the last 17 years, i have been following the economic and social development of this country of paradise. In the meantime, I am proud to be the participant and witness of the great achievement of Sino-Vanuatu relations.
I still vividly remember that the first important event i attended was the ground-breaking ceremony of Korman Stadium in April, 2016. On that occasion, almost all the Ministers and leaders of Opposition were present. In my remarks, i mentioned that China has nothing to hide. China and Vanuatu are true friends. We respect each other and support each other. On international arena, China and Vanuatu cooperate very well on regional and international issues of common concerns. I emphasized that my mission here is to strengthen China-Vanuatu Strategic Partnership featuring mutual respect and common development.
I am pleased to see that with our joint efforts, China-Vanuatu relations are in an excellent shape and it has set a good example for China’s ties with other pacific island countries. China attaches great importance to Sino-Vanuatu ties and “Vanuatu greatly values its relationship with China as an important development partner, friend and global leader.”(quoted from recent statement of Prime Minister’s Office)
I am pleased to see that Chinese medical doctors have served the people of Vanuatu for 30 years, alleviating the pains of thousands of patients. Furthermore, in recent years Guangdong Province of China has sent eye doctors to Vanuatu to perform cataract surgeries for the blind people, bringing light to them for a better life. It is worth mentioning that after TC Pam, Chinese Government responded quickly to donate about 5 million US dollars worth of humanitarian disaster relief materials to Vanuatu. A friend in need is a friend in deed. China’s great efforts have earned wide appreciation from all walks of life.
I am pleased to see that over the years, China has funded more than 100 students of Vanuatu to study in China, pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and social science through Chinese Government Scholarship Program. Last year, I launched the Chinese Ambassador Scholarship in USP Emalus Campus, encouraging students to learn Mandarin and Chinese culture.
I am pleased to see that nearly one thousand people of Vanuatu have participated in the training seminars sponsored by China in recent years. These seminars have contributed a great deal to the capacity building of human resources of Vanuatu and at the same time, deepened people to people friendship between our two nations.
I am pleased to see that a lot of landmark buildings have been erected through China’s aid. These buildings not only improve the level of public infrastructure, but also promote the positive image of Vanuatu at large. Just like Prime Minister said recently in an official statement that “They are buildings of National significance to this country.”
I am pleased to see that Tanna-Malekula road and Santo wharf have significantly facilitated the export of local products and tourism industry, bringing tangible benefits to people of Vanuatu.
Especially, I am pleased to see that under the all around support from China, 2017 Pacific Mini Games has achieved great success. For this project, Chinese Government not only provided the Stadium, vehicles and all sports equipment, but also funded 190 athletes to receive training in China for five months. In addition, 15 Chinese coaches also came to Port Vila for intensive training and site coaching. I would like to once again congratulate Vanuatu to win 76 medals, which is an unprecedent achievement in its history. I shared the joys, pride and happiness with the people of Vanuatu.
Most of the projects mentioned above are funded by Chinese grants, including National Convention Center, Prime Minister’s Office, Korman Stadium and Malapoa College, etc. Only a fraction of projects are funded by concessional loans from China. Facts speak louder than words. China’s aid assistance have made great contributions to the development of Vanuatu and have earned wide recognition and appreciation from both the government and its people.
About the concessional loan, I need to point out that China always bears in mind the debt-paying ability and solvency of Vanuatu, avoiding heavy debt burden to the Government. All those relevant projects have been conducted with careful feasibility study and market research, so that they would deliver the desired economic and social benefits. China’s experience tells us that ”To be rich, one has to build road first.” I believe that, at the request of Vanuatu Government, China’s infrastructure loan projects will lay a solid foundation for the sustainable development of Vanuatu in the future.
Meanwhile, i’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a piece of good news. Several days ago, China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) was established. The launch of CIDCA is a landmark event in the history of China’s foreign aid. It is a strong signal that China will further strengthen its cooperation with developing countries, and increase its aid to the least developed countries.
It is well known that when providing foreign assistance, China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of the recipient countries and fully respecting their right to independently choosing their own paths and models of development. The basic principles that China upholds in providing foreign assistance are mutual respect, equality, keeping promise, mutual benefits and win-win. China always listens to what Vanuatu wants and fully respects the wishes and needs of the Government of Vanuatu. Just as the Prime Minister said in an official statement, “Most of the projects that the Chinese people have provided to Vanuatu through their Government are aid assistance based on the requests by the Government of Vanuatu. These projects are important with no strings attached.”
Some friends may notice that China’s aid towards Vanuatu has been increasing year by year. This is because the fast-economic growth of China has enabled itself to provide more foreign aid. Chinese people believe that China will do well only when the world does well. As the second largest economy and permanent member of UN security council, China is determined to fulfill its international responsibilities and obligations. Within its ability, China provides its assistance to other developing countries under the framework of South-South cooperation, to help other developing countries, especially the least developed countries, to achieve UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. China’s aid to the developing countries is an important part of that great efforts. I believe the aspirations of the people for a better life should be the goal of all of us.
The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. Over the past four decades, China has become the second largest economy, the largest industrial producer, the largest trader of goods, and the holder of the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty, which is unprecedent in the history of mankind. Not long ago, at the Boao Forum President Xi Jinping made it clear to the world that China’s door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider. In terms of foreign policy, China firmly upholds the international order and the system underpinned by the purposes and principles of UN Charter and dedicates itself to build a shared future for mankind. What’s important is that China insists on abiding by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, namely, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. Based on those principles, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence. China has no geopolitical calculations and has no intention to build its own backyard garden, but to build a garden shared by all. We are now living in 21st century, the zero-sum game and Cold War mentality should be totally discarded.
years of diplomatic career give me the privilege to work in different countries. I notice that more and more people begin to learn and understand China. I recommend people to read the book “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”. I am quite sure that through this book one could find out the secret of China’s success and better understand China’s foreign policy. I also encourage the people of Vanuatu to visit China and see it through their own eyes. Seeing is believing. They would be amazed to discover a true picture of China.
There is a Chinese saying that “as distance tests a horse’s strength, so time reveals one’s heart.” I believe in the judgement and wisdom of the people of Vanuatu and i am convinced that rumors and speculations will never prevent China-Vanuatu relations from moving forward. What I know for sure is that with our joint efforts, the road to common development will be even wider!