President Xi Jinping takes a group photo on Friday in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, with leaders of Pacific island countries, which have all established diplomatic relations with China. (FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY)
Belt and Road offers promising framework for PNG cooperation
China and Papua New Guinea should strengthen the connection of development strategies under the Belt and Road Initiative framework and enhance cooperation in such areas as economy, trade, investment and finance, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.
Xi made the remark while meeting with Peter O'Neill, prime minister of PNG, amid his ongoing visit to the nation.
Noting that PNG is the first Pacific island nation to sign a Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China, Xi called on the two sides to promote pragmatic cooperation to achieve win-win development.
The two countries should make joint efforts to promote the initiation of negotiations on a free trade agreement as early as possible, Xi said.
The president pointed out that China firmly supports PNG to choose a development path that fits its own national situation, and China highly appreciates the PNG government's firm stance on supporting the one-China policy.
The two countries decided to build a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, which will inject great power into the bilateral cooperation, Xi said.
China would like to enhance strategic mutual trust with PNG and promote political party, parliament, local and people-to-people exchanges, he said.
Xi expressed gratitude for PNG's enthusiastic and grand reception for his visit, saying he could feel the friendship from the sincere smiles on the faces of the local people.
Prime Minister O'Neill said it's a historic moment for his country to welcome the Chinese president's visit.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1976, the two countries have maintained great development, he said, adding that PNG will firmly uphold the one-China policy.
The prime minister said he appreciated China's long-term support for PNG's economic development, a Chinese medical team's efforts to prevent malaria in the remote areas of PNG, China's aid to help PNG people rebuild their homes after an earthquake, and China's support for PNG to host this weekend's informal meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders.
Hailing the Belt and Road as a great initiative that could boost interconnectivity among Pacific island countries, he said PNG will proactively take part in the Belt and Road.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents between China and PNG after the meeting.
On Friday morning, Bob Dadae, the governor-general of PNG, hosted a grand ceremony to welcome Xi.
Xi, noting that it is his first visit to PNG and also the first visit by a Chinese head of state to the Pacific nation, told Dadae that China attaches great importance to the development of China-PNG ties.
It is hoped that the visit will promote bilateral relations, expand exchanges at all levels between the two sides and promote practical cooperation to get more outcomes, Xi said.
Dadae said Xi's state visit is a great event for PNG and has set a milestone for the development of PNG-China ties.
Dadae expressed gratitude for China's help in such areas as PNG's infrastructure, education and healthcare.