Xi: No hidden agendas, President praises ‘stable, healthy’ relations with PNG

PORT MORESBY, 19 NOVEMBER 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – President of China Xi Jinping says China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, nor target against anyone, or does it exclude anyone.

He told the Chief Executive Officers’ Summit on board the cruise liner Pacific Explorer in Port Moresby on Saturday the initiative had won worldwide endorsement in the past five years.

China had signed the initiative with more than 140 countries and international organisations. It aims to enhance connectivity among countries and regions.

“The BRI is an open platform for cooperation. It is guided by the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits,” he said.

“It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a trap as some people have labelled it.

“Rather, the BRI is a transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world.

Xi said China would make greater contributions “to the common prosperity of the world”.

This year, China has announced new measures to further “open up”, which includes creating a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly lowering the tariffs for 1449 consumer goods and 1585 industrial goods.

It also further cut the tariffs for automobiles and auto parts to 13.8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively and eliminated tariffs on imported anti-cancer drugs.

“With a new round of tariff cuts coming into effect on November the 1st, China’s overall tariff rates have been reduced to 7.5 per cent.

“This is beyond the commitment China made upon its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

“It is also lower than the majority of developing countries.”

Xi says PNG is an influential country in the Pacific with beautiful traditions and rich resources, Chinese President Xi Jinping says.

Xi said, during a meeting with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Cabinet Ministers on Friday, that PNG had a very clear and credible development target.

“Since we established diplomatic relations, a stable and heathy development has been maintained especially in recent years under the leadership of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill,” he said.

“Your country’s development has paid greater attention to cooperation with China.

“I and the Chinese government pay greater attention to PNG.

“I am pleased to see the development of communication programme in every sector and I congratulate you on this.”

O’Neill explained to journalists later the misunderstanding over the coverage of the Pacific Island leaders meeting with Xi on Saturday.

He said it was organised by the Chinese government.

“It was not an open forum meeting,” he said.

“It was something the Chinese organised and it is one-on-one with each country from the Pacific.

“The meeting was between the presidents and prime ministers of each country with President Xi. So what they have discussed and how they have development partners is something they will (explain) themselves.”

PNG and foreign journalists had turned up for the Pacific Islands leaders meeting with President Xi at the Stanley Hotel but were turned away as it was only for Chinese reporters.

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