Tongan Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni met with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi here on Tuesday, with both sides vowing to enhance bilateral friendship and cooperation.
The prime minister said that he is delighted to meet with the Chinese delegation at the China-aided government building, adding that the visit to Tonga after taking a long journey despite the pandemic fully demonstrates the solid and friendly relations between the two countries.
Since they established diplomatic relations, he said, the two countries have seen their relations get increasingly close and mutually beneficial cooperation move forward continuously.
The Tongan prime minister thanked China for its selfless help in Tonga's socioeconomic development, particularly swift assistance in Tonga's response to the volcanic tsunami disaster as well as strong support for Tonga's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that both countries stick to the principles of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs and respecting other countries' sovereignty, he said that Tonga will stay committed to the one-China policy as well as the effort to advance the bilateral friendly relations.
Tonga looks forward to promoting synergy with China in joint construction of the Belt and Road, and deepening practical cooperation in various fields, said the prime minister.
For his part, Wang said during the meeting that China appreciates Tonga's active participation in joint construction of the Belt and Road, adding that China is willing to synergize development strategies with Tonga and conduct high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
Wang said that China will work to ensure the success of the projects including on sports venues and wind power infrastructure, and to promote sub-national exchanges and cooperation, so as to make the bilateral friendly relations more fruitful, bringing more tangible benefits to the Tongan people.
Wang said that the Chinese diplomacy features non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, mutual benefit and win-win results, while noting that leaders of island nations in the South Pacific region have recently made clear that their countries are not a "backyard" of any country but independent and sovereign states, who have the right to decide on their own affairs.
China fully understands and supports their stance, Wang said.
Wang said that China is willing to work with all parties in an open manner to deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation with Pacific island countries, promote multilateralism, oppose any act of unilateral bullying, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries, especially the smaller nations.
During the meeting, Hu'akavameiliku also spoke highly of China's establishing new platforms for cooperation with Pacific island countries, including a cooperation center on climate change.
Wang said that China has released the position paper on mutual respect and common development with the Pacific island countries, which will bring new opportunities for the China-Tonga cooperation. China stands ready to expand new areas of cooperation and enable new highlights, he said.
Following the meeting, Hu'akavameiliku and Wang attended a signing ceremony of documents on bilateral cooperation in fields ranging from disaster prevention and mitigation, agriculture and fisheries to healthcare.