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China, Pacific Island Countries Announce Strategic Partnership
   2014-11-22 23:20:15    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fu

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech during a group meeting with Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Federated States of Micronesia President Emanuel Mori, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill, Prime Minister of Vanuatu Joe Natuman, the Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Tonga Prime Minister Siale'ataonga Tu'ivakano and Niue Premier Toke Talagi in Nadi, Fiji, Nov. 22, 2014. [Photo: Xinhua]

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China and eight Pacific island countries have agreed to deepen their relations by establishing a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development.

The agreement was announced at a meeting in Fiji between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and the leaders of the eight countries, including Micronesia, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.

In a keynote speech delivered at the meeting, President Xi Jinping expounded China's policy and measures to enhance relations with the island countries in a new era.

"First, establish a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. Second, enhance high-level communication to provide political guidance for the development of our relations. Third, deepen pragmatic cooperation to lay a solid economic foundation for our relations; and fourth expand people-to-people exchanges. Finally, we should strengthen multilateral coordination to add strategic meaning to our relationship."

President Xi urged China and the island countries to increase high-level interactions, saying China welcomes leaders of the countries to visit China and will work with them on top-level design for their relations.

He said China will continue to provide support for the island countries' major projects, infrastructure construction and projects involving people's livelihoods.

President Xi added that China will offer zero-tariff preference for 97 percent of tax items imported from the least developed countries.

On people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese president pledged to provide the island countries with 2,000 scholarships and 5,000 slots for various studies and trainings in the next five years.

"Although China and Pacific island countries are geographically far apart, our peoples have a natural sense of amity toward each other and enjoy a long history of friendship. We have carried out win-win economic cooperation and respect each other on the political level. We also support each other on global affairs. We are true friends, good partners and brothers."

For their parts, the leaders of the island countries said they all regard China as a sincere friend and partner as the Chinese side always respects and supports the island countries.

They said China's policy and measures toward them meet their actual needs and will help the island countries in their push for sustainable development.

The leaders pledged that their countries will boost exchanges and cooperation so as to cement friendship with China.

President Xi Jinping arrived in Fiji on Friday for a state visit to the country after his trips to Australia and New Zealand.

He earlier told Fijian leaders that China will continue to help Fiji develop its economy, improve people's livelihoods and tackle climate change.

Tiny in size and small in population, the Pacific island countries are regarded as rich in natural resources and strategically important in geopolitical terms.

All the eight island countries have established diplomatic ties with China since the 1970s.

Trade volume between China and the region has increased some seven-fold over a decade, reaching 4.4 billion U.S. dollars last year.

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