CHINA continues to strengthen its ties with Fiji, yesterday pledging aid and credit worth more than $200 million through the signing of three agreements.
The latest string of assistance provides for technical co-operation between the two countries, financing for new public-works projects, and paves the way for the upgrading of Fiji's roads.
Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the People's Republic of China understood how life in Fiji was improving and was "generously investing in our program to grow the Fijian economy and provide sustained livelihoods for all Fijians".
In welcoming Wu Bangguo, the chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress, Commodore Bainimarama said the People's Republic of China was a good friend of Fiji.
The Chinese legislator, who arrived in the country for a three-day visit, said he was looking forward to bilateral talks with the Prime Minister, and the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
"My government is reaching out through our "Look North policy," to build new relationships with the great nations of Asia. As we reach out to the great nations of Asia, the People's Republic of China is surely the most prominent among them," said Commodore Bainimarama.
The Prime Minister said the signing at Denarau, Nadi was the result of his trip to China in June where "great interest in Fiji was shown by the Chinese government and potential investors".
"Today, that interest is turning into action," he said.
"But these agreements, important as they are, represent much more. By developing cordial and mutually respectful relations with many nations, Fiji becomes stronger.
"We become less reliant on a handful of partners, and we share in the greater technological and cultural wisdom that exists around the globe.
"Our nations share the view that relations between states must be mutually respectful and based on equality, even between the most populous nation on earth and one of the smallest. China has long upheld that principle in practice."
Commodore Bainimarama said the visit marked the growing significance of Fiji's relationship with the People's Republic of China as a partner in Fiji's growth and prosperity.
"My government looks forward to continuing to strengthen the bond between our two nations," he said.