In 2000, Fujian Province and Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) established sister-province relationship, kicking off exchanges and cooperation between Fujian Province and the Pacific island countries. Starting with exchanges on Juncao technology, Fujian Province has continuously strengthened friendly interactions with Pacific island countries, and expanded the fields of cooperation with positive results.
I. Government-to-Government Cooperation
In May 2000, the then Governor of Fujian, Xi Jinping, and the then Governor of Eastern Highlands Province, Peti Lafanama, signed the agreement on the establishment of sister-province relationship between the two provinces. Since then, the two provincial governments have maintained close exchanges. The Eastern Highlands provincial government has sent delegations to Fujian seven times, and four Fujian provincial leaders have led delegations to Eastern Highlands.
In July 2021, Fujian Province and Western Province of the Solomon Islands signed a letter of intent for the establishment of sister-province relationship.
Thanks to the efforts of the then Fujian Governor Xi Jinping, Fujian started the Juncao and upland rice technology project in Eastern Highlands Province of PNG in 2001. Up to now, three phases of the project have been implemented, with a total of seven technical training courses held and 623 people trained. The project has played an important role in reducing poverty, increasing income and ensuring food security in Eastern Highlands.
In November 2020, at the celebration of the 20th anniversary of their sister-province relationship, Fujian Province and Eastern Highlands Province signed an agreement to further strengthen friendly exchanges and cooperation.
II. Cooperation in Poverty Reduction and Alleviation
Juncao Technology Cooperation
In November 2018, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Papua New Guinea, governments of the two countries exchanged documents for a demonstration project to help PNG with mushroom and upland rice planting. The project was launched by the National Juncao Engineering Technology Research Center of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in August 2019, and a demonstration base was built in Eastern Highlands Province thereafter. At present, the first phase of the project has been completed, with 18 technical training courses held and a total of 1,241 people trained. The technology has been introduced to 16 regions in eight provinces of PNG.
The China-Fiji Juncao Technology Demonstration Center in Fiji was established in 2014 with joint support from the leaders of both countries. Two phases of technical cooperation have been carried out with assistance from the National Juncao Engineering Technology Research Center of Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University. Thirty-nine technical training courses were held and 1,704 people trained in Fiji. Forty-five Fijian agricultural officials and technicians have participated in trainings held at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University.
In November 2019, the National Juncao Engineering Technology Research Center sent two experts to Samoa for a preliminary study on Juncao technology training. In December 2020 and February 2021, two online training courses on Juncao technology were successfully held with 82 trainees.
III. Project Investment Cooperation
The PNG branch of China Wuyi Company has been actively involved in local infrastructure development projects, including the Ela Beach Apartment and Office Building in Port Moresby, Henganofi Highway, CW2 Highway, and the Goroka Market.
In November 2020, Fujian Zhonghong Fishery Co., Ltd. signed a memorandum with the Ministry of Fisheries of Papua New Guinea and the Western Province on building the “Comprehensive Multifunctional Fishery Industrial Park” on Daru Island in Western Province.
IV. Cultural, Educational and Health Exchanges and Cooperation
In 2010, six Austronesian descendants from French Polynesia set off in a canoe from Tahiti for Fujian in search of their ancestral roots.
In December 2017, Fujian Experimental Min Opera Theater staged a performance in Port Moresby, the capital of PNG, for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the China-Papua New Guinea Friendship Federation.
In May 2020, Fujian Province and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries invited diplomatic envoys from South Pacific island countries to Fujian to gain an in-depth understanding of the Austronesian culture of Pingtan.
In October 2018, Fujian Business University and East New Britain Province of PNG signed an educational cooperation framework agreement. In October 2019, the university welcomed the first group of eight students from Papua New Guinea.
In May 2020, Fujian Province donated a total of 20,000 medical protective masks and 30,000 disposable medical masks to the Papua New Guinean government and Eastern Highlands Province to support their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
V. Maritime Cooperation
In September 2017, the China-Island Countries Ocean-related Ministerial Roundtable was held in Pingtan, Fujian. Representatives from 12 island countries, including Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa, attended the meeting. The meeting covered such topics as blue economy, marine environmental protection, and sustainable development of islands, and adopted the Pingtan Declaration.
In September 2021, the Forum on Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development of China-Pacific Island Countries was held in Pingtan, Fujian. Nearly 100 guests, including 13 diplomatic envoys from Pacific island countries, attended the forum and held discussions on issues including cooperation in marine economy and sustainable development of islands.
Today, Fujian Province is making great efforts to promote the building of the core area of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the “Silk Road Partnership”. Pacific island countries are located in the extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The two sides enjoy broad prospects for exchanges and cooperation. By tapping to its local resources and advantages, Fujian will step up cooperation with local governments of Pacific island countries in broader areas and enhance people-to-people exchanges, so as to contribute to advancing the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Pacific island countries.