Remarks by H.E. Mr. Cheng Shuping, Ambassador of China to Vanuatu, at the reception to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Vanuatu
From Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu
(Port Vila, 26 March 2012)
The Right Honorable Prime Minister Sato Kilman, (and Mrs Kilman,)
First of all, I would like to express my warm welcome to all the distinguished guests to be present here tonight. Today is a significant day for China and Vanuatu, and today marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Vanuatu. It's my great honor as an incumbent ambassador to be able to witness and celebrate this special event, to commemorate and review the experiences the lessons we learned in the past 30 years. For many years, all of you present here have made unremitting efforts to promote China-Vanuatu relations. I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to you for your valuable contributions and, through you, extend my best wishes to all peoples who care about and have supported the growth of China-Vanuatu relations.
Yesterday 30 years ago, namely, on 25th March 1982, the then Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Mr. Shen Zhiwei traveled to Port Vila. He met with Vanuatu's first President His Excellency Sokomanu and first Prime Minister Hon. Walter Lini, after talks, the two sides signed "The Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Vanuatu", and the following day, on 26th March the Joint Communiqué was officially announced to the public. Over the past 30 years, China and Vanuatu have increased mutual understanding, supported and helped each other. In their respective national endeavors to promote development and pursue a better life, the Chinese and Ni-Vanuatu peoples have fostered profound friendship, and fruitful progress has been made in China-Vanuatu cooperation. The friendship between us has become a role model among developing countries, which we still benefit today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over the past 30 years, China has maintained close contact with Vanuatu at the leadership level and promoted communication and exchanges between governments, parliaments, political parties, NGOs, cultural, educational media and sports institutions of our two sides to enhance mutual understanding and friendship.
A friend in need is a friend indeed. Over the past 30 years, based on the "South-South Cooperation" framework, China has committed to providing assistance to Vanuatu to the best of its ability, which at the same time is based on mutual respect and mutual understanding, without interfering in Vanuatu's internal affairs, without binding any political Add-ons to the projects or programs, without any obligation of repayment, and all these assistances designated to Vanuatu were strictly in accordance with Vanuatu's request and urgent needs. In recent years, greater attention has been paid to knowledge-based cooperation such as capacity building, human resources training and science and technology exchanges, and to enhancing social development and making life better for local communities and the grass root.
Though repeating many times in many occasions, I still want to take this opportunity to mention some of the highlights of the projects, which have fostered the economic growth and elevated the social livelihood of Vanuatu. The Parliament House, the building of Melanesian Spearhead Group Headquarter, the dormitory building of the Emalus Campus of the University of South Pacific and, moreover,
-- As early as 1985, China consecutively dispatched a medical team of 8 doctors to Santo Northern Hospital; and started from 1993, another medical team of 8 doctors was dispatched to Port Vila Central Hospital. Up to now, more than 130 Chinese doctors have served for more than two decades in Vanuatu. The Chinese doctors had overcome tons of difficulties and concentrated themselves to the work, helping Ni-Vanuatu get rid of pain and diseases, saving lives for the local people, many of the doctors regard Vanuatu as their second hometown when they bid farewell.
-- Since 1995, China provided 5 to 8 full scholarships for Ni-Vanuatu students and scholars each year to study in the Chinese Higher Education Institutions. There are still around 20 Ni-Vanuatu students studying now in China. They will certainly become the dynamic human resources to the development of Vanuatu after graduation.
-- Since 1996, China has consecutively dispatched table tennis coach for a term of 2 years to help Vanuatu popularize the sport and improve the technique of table tennis. In return, the Vanuatu women's player rewarded with a gold in the woman's single and a silver medal for the team in the South Pacific Table Tennis Tournament a few years ago.
-- Since 2004, China has consecutively sent Chinese teacher to Port Vila Central School to teach Chinese, the teacher not only teaches Chinese language here, but also demonstrates Chinese culture and history to the Ni-Vanuatu students, teachers and general public, From this year on, we put one more Chinese teacher to the French School in Port Vila.
China has promised to provide 38 vehicles to support the upcoming ACP-EU Ministerial Meeting to be held in June in Port Vila. These vehicles will arrive in Vanuatu approximately in May. The construction of the French School of Emalus Campus of USP, and the National Convention Center will start in the second half of the year.
Certainly, China also get valuable support from Vanuatu side. We have maintained good communications and coordination on regional and international issues. China appreciates Vanuatu Government's valuable backup for various Chinese candidates competing for positions in international organizations for more voices from developing countries. We also greatly value Vanuatu Government's position on the One China Policy, which not only lays the foundation for our diplomatic relations, but also demonstrates the respect and support of Ni-vanuatu people for Chinese people's efforts for national reunification.
Although Vanuatu is a small Pacific Island Country, it holds great potential on economic and social development. Vanuatu people are great people that are honest, friendly, respectful, diligent, and in compliance with laws and social orders. China has made great improvements in developing relations with Island Countries in the South Pacific Region, and there will be more substantial development in the future. We see Vanuatu as a true friend of China in the region, and I firmly believe that we have bright and broad prospects in developing and enhancing our bilateral relations and cooperation which will bear more and more fruits and accomplishments in the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
30 years is quite short in the long history of human being, however for a person, 30 years are really something, when you reach 30, you are supposed to be experienced, mature, be able to support your family and be a big shoot in your career. Also, 30 years mean a lot for a nation, lessons can be learnt, development can be achieved and challenges may be confronted with all around… 30 years for the relations between countries just like a silver-marriage couple, they have many good things to remember, a lot of stories to share, they can master the know-how of tackling problems and working out differences in the family, they know very much about their responsibility and obligation to the family, in other word, the relations of 30 years between countries should be mature and harmonious.
I would like to quote what the late Prime Minister Hon. Walter Lini had said, "Peace is powerful, respect is honorable" Absolutely right! Respect is the foundation of communication and relations build-up. Mutual respect leads to mutual understanding, to mutual trust, to mutual cooperation, to mutual benefit, and to many other behaviors.
To conclude my remarks, I sincerely wish, in the next 30 years, our two countries should view and handle our relations from a long-term perspective, keep to the common interests of both sides, enhance dialogue, strengthen mutual trust and cooperation, accommodate each other's interest and properly address differences. Last but not least, we should expand the scope of bilateral cooperation in an innovative way, so as to ensure the healthy, stable and sustainable relations between China and Vanuatu for another brilliant 30 years.