In November 2014, President Xi Jinping and leaders of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) that have diplomatic relations with China met in Fiji and unanimously agreed to establish a strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development. In November 2018, President Xi Jinping and leaders of PICs that have diplomatic relations with China met in Papua New Guinea and unanimously agreed to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, and created a new situation of all round cooperation.
In recent years, Guangdong has resolutely implemented the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and the leaders of PICs, actively carry out all round exchanges and cooperation, strive to allow the people of PICs to obtain real benefits, and help build a community with a shared future for China and PICs. This article is now published to comprehensively show the fruitful results of cooperation between Guangdong and PICs.
I. Important documents and visits
In 2018, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Papua New Guinea, Guangdong signed memorandum of understanding on promoting friendly exchanges with 8 PICs that have diplomatic relations with China, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Niue. In 2019 and 2020, Guangdong signed memorandum of understanding on promoting friendly exchanges with Solomon Islands and Kiribati. This has strengthened policy synergy, planned cooperation directions, and further promoted all round exchanges and cooperation between Guangdong and PICs.
Since 2015, H.E.Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji Prime Minister (July 2015), H.E. Peter O'Neill, then Papua New Guinea Prime Minister (July 2016, December 2017, June 2018), H.E. Charlot Salwai, then Vanuatu Prime Minister (October 2016, January 2018), H.E. Peter M. Christian, then President of the Federated States of Micronesia (March 2017), H.M. Tupou VI, the King of Tonga (March 2018), H.E. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, then Prime Minister of Samoa (September 2018), H.E. Manasseh Sogavare, Solomon Islands Prime Minister (October 2019), H.E. Taneti Maamau, Kiribati President (January 2020), other heads of state or government, and about 70 batches of ministerial delegations have visited Guangdong.
During this period, a total of 11 Guangdong provincial leaders including Mr. Hu Chunhua, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and then Party Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (May 2015), and Mr. Li Xi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Party Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (September 2018), have led delegations to visit PICs such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Cook Islands.
II. People ’s livelihood assistance
As of now, Guangdong has completed 18 people's livelihood projects in PICs, including China-Papua New Guinea Friendship School Butuka Academy, China (Guangdong) - Papua New Guinea Malaria Prevention Center, Scratchley Road, Pari Road and Bus Station Pavilions in Port Moresby, Fiji Suva City Hall Auditorium Renovation, Fiji Marist Brothers High School Stadium Reconstruction, China-Samoa Friendship Park, Samoa Culture and Art Center, Tonga Capital Central District pedestrian trails, Tupou College roads, Tapu Island tourist attractions roads, Ha’apai Islands pedestrian trails, Vanuatu Port Vila Stadium, etc.
At present, Guangdong tries to overcome the impact of the pandemic, and actively promotes the construction of the National Convention Center of the Federated State of Micronesia, the Kiribati Capital Youth Park and other projects to strive for early completion.
Goods and Materials
Since 2015, Guangdong has provided about 62 batches of people's livelihood material assistance to PICs, including production equipment such as tractors, excavators, fishing boats, generators, life materials such as solar lamps, water storage tanks, iron sheet tiles, trash cans, medical equipment such as ECG monitors, air pressure instruments, hospital carts, teaching equipment such as desks and chairs, computers, schoolbags, stationery, school uniforms, vehicles such as school buses, garbage trucks, passenger trucks, motorcycles, sports equipment such as basketball racks, barbells, footballs, fitness facilities, and digital devices such as LED screens, sound equipment, film screening equipment, cameras.
In the future, Guangdong will continue to provide support and help to PICs within its capacity to improve people’s livelihood. In 2022, Guangdong plans to donate tractors, generators, solar lamps, water storage tanks, iron sheet tiles, electronic education equipment, desks, chairs and schoolbags, etc.
III. Cooperation in COVID Response and Public Health
Since 2015, Guangdong has continued to carry out medical tours to PICs including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, and sent 22 medical teams to provide local diagnosis and treatment for nearly 6,000 patients in ophthalmology, dental, cardiovascular departments etc., and more than 300 cataract removal surgeries have been conducted.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the two sides conducted close cooperation on joint fight against the pandemic. Guangdong continues to provide anti-COVID-19 supplies to PICs, donating more than 1.8 million pieces of supplies such as medical masks, test reagents, gloves, protective clothing, goggles, hand sanitizer, protective masks, forehead thermometers, and 30 simple isolation wards. Over 10 video conferences of exchanges of epidemic prevention experience have been held.
IV. Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
In March 2018, a strong earthquake occurred in central Papua New Guinea, and Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa were swept by a tropical hurricane. Guangdong provided emergency assistance to the above countries immediately. In January 2022, an outbreak of a volcano in the sea of Tonga caused natural disasters such as tsunami, and Solomon Islands experienced an outbreak of COVID-19. Via China-Pacific Island Countries Reserve of Emergency Supplies, Guangdong immediately sent about 60 tons of disaster relief supplies such as food, water, PPE, tents, water purifiers, generators, high-voltage water pumps and chainsaws to Tonga, and provided about 24 tons of anti-COVID-19 supplies such as medical masks, gloves, goggles, protective clothing, and folding beds to Solomon Islands, demonstrating the spirit of a community of shared future which stands together through storm and stress.
V. Economic and Trade Cooperation
Since 2015, Guangdong has held 4 Guangdong famous products exhibition activities in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, and Cook Islands. Guangdong has invited delegations from PICs to participate in exhibitions and conventions, such as Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo, China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair, the Guangdong Modern Agriculture Expo, etc. Guangdong has actively participated in multilateral platforms such as the 2nd and 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum (2013, 2019), Forum on Fishery Cooperation and Development (2021), to promote trade between the two sides.
Relevant enterprises in Guangdong province have participated in the construction and operation of infrastructure, agricultural and fishery projects in PICs such as Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, etc. These projects have promoted local economic and social development.
VI. Human Resources Development, Culture, Sports, Radio and Television exchanges
Adhering to the principal of teaching someone how to fish instead of giving him fish, with a priority to justice, Guangdong actively helps PICs in their human resources development. From 2015 to 2021, a total of 30 training courses in various fields such as agriculture, fishery, medical care, etc. were held. Nearly 500 students from 10 PICs such as Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue came to Guangdong to study. Guangdong sent experts to train more than 1,100 local medical staff, Chinese tour guides, and agricultural and fishery technicians in Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, and Niue.
Since 2015, Guangdong has continued to carry out cultural exchanges with PICs and sent about 15 batches of art troupes to 7 PICs including Fiji, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Vanuatu. In occasions of celebrations for anniversaries of establishment of diplomatic relations, a total of 24 theme performances featuring Chinese and Lingnan-style culture were held, actively spreading Chinese and Lingnan-style culture, attracting more than 15,000 local audiences, and warmly welcomed by all sectors of society. Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands and other PICs sent art troupes to Guangdong to participate in the Guangdong Tourism and Culture Festival, Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo and other activities to perform traditional folk songs and dances of PICs.
Guangdong and Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and other countries carry out project exchanges and athlete training in the fields of table tennis, football etc. Guangdong has donated different kinds of sport, training and fitness facilities to Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Niue and other PICs to help local people improve their exercise conditions.
Guangdong has opened a "China Theater" TV channel in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and Fiji, and co-produced special programs such as Fiji Face to Face, China Jiangmen City-Solomon Islands Honiara City Spring Festival Special Program 2021.
VII. People-to-People and Sub-national Friendship and Cooperation
As of now, Guangdong and PICs have established 2 pairs of sister provinces (Suva, Fiji, Chuuk State, the Federated States of Micronesia), 5 pairs of sister cities (Shenzhen and Apia, Samoa, Zhongshan and Rull Municipality, Yap State, the Federated States of Micronesia, Dongguan and Ha’apai Islands, Tonga, Foshan and Port Vila, Vanuatu, Jiangmen and Lautoka City, Fiji), 2 pairs of friendly exchanges provinces (Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, Shefa Province, Vanuatu), 5 pairs of friendly exchanges cities (Guangzhou and Suva, Fiji, Shenzhen and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Zhongshan and Municipality of Sokehs, Pohnpei State, the Federated States of Micronesia, Jiangmen and Honiara, Solomon Islands, Zhuhai Wanshan Ocean Development Pilot Zone and Luganville, Vanuatu), 5 pairs of friendship association relations (Vanuatu, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue China Friendship Associations, Solomon Islands Guadalcanal Province Guangdong Friendship Association).
South Pacific region is located on the southern extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and it is a key area for Guangdong’s comprehensive opening up to the outside world on a higher level. In the new development stage, and in the face of major changes unseen in a century, Guangdong is willing to work with PICs to implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and leaders of PICs, build closer ties, expand pragmatic cooperation, deepen people-to-people bonds, and make new and greater contributions to jointly promote the community with a shared future for China and PICs.