In the second vice Minister’s Special Meeting held earlier this week, the People’s Republic of China and the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have acknowledged the partnership in mutual areas of interest and reaffirmed commitment to upscale collaboration in rebuilding and recovery efforts for the regional and global prosperity.
The virtual meeting was co-chaired by the People’s Republic of China’s Vice Foreign Minister, His Excellency, Mr Zheng Zeguang and the Soloman Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Jeremiah Manele.
Participating senior officials from the following Pacific Island Countries delivered their statements; Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Soloman Islands and Kiribati.
Representing Fiji at this meeting, Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration and Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yogesh Karan emphasised that multilateralism is central in all aspects of Fiji’s and the Pacific’s response to address the common challenges and pursue opportunities through mutual partnership and dialogue.
PS Karan acknowledged the ongoing support provided by the People’s Republic of China to Fiji and the Pacific region. Reflecting on the strategic partnership, PS Karan made reference to the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway for COVID-19 (PHP-C) being instrumental in addressing the immediate challenges and impacts felt by the COVID19.
“This has been a success story for us, and we will continue to work with all partners, including China, to further strengthen this critical regional mechanism. “In saying this, it is also important to mention that our focus and efforts have now transitioned towards economic recovery and working to ensure that we have equitable access to safe COVID-19 health care and vaccines,” PS Karan said.
PS Karan emphasised that working in solidarity is of paramount importance in coordination of responses in technical, financial and humanitarian assistance, enhancing investment in health infrastructure and provisions in financing modalities to support the priority areas of focus for PICs particularly in consideration of the double crisis encountered due to climate change and COVID19.
He also emphasised on the need to ensure the equitable access of the COVID-19 vaccine to all Member States through relevant logistical support to Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The PICs and People’s Republic of China reviewed the achievements of their cooperation in combating COVID19, especially since the first vice minister’s special meeting held in May 2020.
The PICs thanked the People’s Republic of China for its support towards COVID 19 response and economic recovery efforts.
The two sides reaffirmed their mutual support on issues involving each other’s core interests and emphasised that the partnership is based on the values of mutual respect and understanding for each other’s sovereignty and choice of development path.
The PICs also reaffirmed to uphold the One-China principle.