China, Fiji vow to further step up all-round practical cooperation

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a news conference during the ongoing National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliamentary body, in Beijing, China March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SUVA, 02 NOVEMBER 2018 (XINHUA) – China and Fiji pledged on Tuesday to further strengthen all-round practical cooperation between the two countries.

The pledge came as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met here separately with Fijian President Jioji Konrote, and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

During his meeting with Fijian President Jioji Konrote, Wang said China, as a developing country, will always stand by other developing countries as well as small and medium-sized countries.

The China-Fiji relations have witnessed rapid development since they established strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development four years ago, Wang noted, adding that China sees and develops its ties with Fiji from a strategic and long-term point of view.

China’s support and assistance for Fiji has no political strings attached, is not intended for pursuing selfish interests, nor is it targeting any third party, Wang said.

China is willing to share experience of state governance with Fiji, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, assist in Fiji’s development and jointly safeguard the legitimate rights of developing countries, he added.

Konrote said Fiji cherishes the strategic partnership with China. He thanked the Chinese side for offering assistance in bridge construction, infrastructure, agriculture and education, which has brought tangible benefits for the Fijian people.

Fiji is willing to learn from China’s development experience and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, he said.

While meeting with Fijian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Wang said China-Fiji friendship has withstood the test of changes in the international arena.

China and Fiji not only always treat each other on an equal footing, but also respect, understand and support each other, he said, adding that China firmly supports Fiji in pursuing a development path that suits its national conditions and enjoys the support of its people.

China always maintains that all countries, big or small, are equal, and China always stand by developing countries and uphold the legitimate interests of small and medium developing countries, Wang said, noting that this is the fine tradition of China’s diplomacy.

China has never attached any political strings to its assistance for developing countries, nor does it seek selfish interests, the Chinese state councilor also stressed.

China-Fiji cooperation belongs to the South-South cooperation and mutual assistance between friends and brothers, he added.

Noting that China attaches importance to Fiji’s role in the South Pacific island countries, Wang said China stands ready to step up all-round practical cooperation with Fiji and align the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Fiji’s 20-year National Development Plan.

He called on the two sides to start negotiations on free trade agreement at an early date so as to uphold multilateralism and free trade through concrete actions.

Wang welcomed Fiji participating in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) which is slated to kick off next Monday.

For his part, Bainimarama said that over the past 43 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Fiji and China, the bilateral relations have enjoyed fast development with booming friendly exchanges and mutual cooperation in such fields as trade, investment, sports and localities.