People’s Republic of China continues to support the Pacific Islands Forum

The People’s Republic of China has handed over USD$1.05 million to Pacific Islands Forum through its Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund.

The money was handed over to Forum’s Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor last week.

During the handover, the SG thanked China for their ongoing support through the fund and strong relationship between China and Pacific.

“I’d particularly like to thank you for the ongoing support to the Pacific Trade and Invest (PTI China) office in Beijing. The trade relationships we have with China are very important and the work of this office continues to help in their development,” she said.

China’s Ambassador, Zhang Ping said China attached great importance to the relationship with Pacific Islands and cooperation and looks at extending this in future.

“China always attaches great importance to the relationship with Pacific Island Countries, and looks forward to further enhancing the bilateral dialogue, exchanges and cooperation in various fields and persists to provide assistance and aid within its capacity,” said Ambassador Ping.

“We sincerely welcome the Pacific Island Countries participation in the cooperation of ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative to realise common development through win-win cooperation,” he added.

The China-PIF Cooperative Fund was established in 2000 to support trade, investment, tourism and personal exchange between China and Forum countries.

One of the key initiatives under the fund is PTI China which works closely with Forum Country Embassies in Beijing to develop and strengthen networks between Pacific businesses and Chinese markets.

Trade statistics released by PTI China last year showed that the fourteen Forum Island Countries exported US$2.5 billion worth of goods to China in 2015, up from US$2 billion in 2014.

China’s exports to the Forum Island Countries in the same year doubled from US$2.5 billion in 2014 to US$5 billion.

The Fund also enabled the China-PIFS Regional Scholarship Scheme which doubled its intake last year and has seen more than 80 students study a wide range of subjects recently.

The subjects include engineering, international law, medicine, information & communications technology, agriculture, and commerce in Chinese institutions.

The handover follows the trip to China earlier this year by the Secretary General during which she met with Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.

 Minister Wang Yi reaffirmed that China stood ready to support Pacific Island Countries and encouraged them to take up the opportunities offered by its Belt and Road strategy for economic and people to people cooperation.

China has been a Dialogue Partner of the Forum since 1990.

Anishma Prasad