Pacific Island nations welcomed in Chinese initiative

China’s Belt and Road is an open initiative and Pacific Island countries, including Papua New Guinea, are very welcome to participate, says the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Deputy director-general of the Information Department at the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Xining, says they would like to promote trade with all countries.

Xining highlighted that the key idea of the Belt and Road initiative is connectivity.

The Belt and Road (B&R) is a development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries.

B&R is expected to bridge the 'infrastructure gap' and thus accelerate economic growth across the Asia Pacific area and Central and Eastern Europe.

Xining told Loop PNG during a recent dialogue with Asia Pacific journalists that China has had a long standing friendly relationship with Pacific Island countries.

The dialogue was part of the 2017 Jefferson Fellowships program organised by the East-West Center based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Xining highlighted that President Jinping made it very clear that the Belt and Road initiative is not confined to the traditional geographical idea.

“We would want to identify the advantages of the market for the Pacific economy so to find the right track to promote our cooperation.

“We’re very confident that we would witness growing collaboration between Pacific Island countries and China. 

“It is easier to implement railway transportation or highways but we could have the sea transportation rules, more frequent freight connections with maritime countries,” Xining said.

Xining added that China has always stressed the importance of free trade and globalising of the economy, and also the connectivity of financial services.

He explained that this is because whenever there is a major project, particularly involving infrastructure, a large sum of investment is needed.

Quintina Naime