NANDI, Fiji, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met here Monday afternoon separately with Fiji President Josefa Iloilo and Prime Minister of the island nation's interim government Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.
Both sides expressed wishes to strengthen the cooperative partnership between the two countries.
The meetings came as Xi made a transit stop in Fiji on his way to start his official visits to Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Malta, which will last to Feb. 22.
While meeting with President Iloilo, Xi condoled with him on the recent flood in the island country which had caused widespread devastation with many thousands fleeing their homes. He wished the people who suffered in the flood a quick recover from the disaster.
China and Fiji have enjoyed long-standing exchanges and friendship between the two peoples, he said.
Sino-Fiji relations entered a new stage after the successful visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Fiji in April 2006, when the leaders of the two countries decided to establish "China-Fiji important cooperative partnership," he said.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (L) meets with Fiji President Josefa Iloilo in Nandi, Fiji, Feb. 9, 2009. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
China highly appreciates Fiji's adherence to the one-China policy, he added.
Iloilo, for his part, hailed the smooth development of bilateral ties, saying the two countries have enjoyed a traditional friendship.
During talks with Prime Minister Bainimarama, who hosted a welcoming ceremony Sunday night at Nandi Airport for the Chinese vice president, Xi pointed out that Fiji was the first Pacific island country to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1975, which ushered in a new era in bilateral relations.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Fiji President Josefa Iloilo in Nandi, Fiji, Feb. 9, 2009. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
The Chinese government attaches great importance to the development of Sino-Fiji ties and cherishes the traditional friendship with Fiji people, he said.
China and Fiji have seen frequent exchanges of high level visits and deepened cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, he added.
The friendly bilateral cooperation not only serves the benefits of the two peoples, but also contributes to the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region, Xi said.
He expressed wishes to further enhance, together with the Fiji side, the exchanges and cooperation in such fields as culture, education, public health and tourism.
Bainimarama, together with Iloilo, congratulated China for successfully hosting the Beijing Olympic Games, and thanked the Chinese government for its help in the relief work after the flood disaster broke out in Fiji. The two leaders reaffirmed that the country would stick to its one-China policy.
After the talks, the two sides signed a number of cooperative deals, in which China will provide Fiji's interim government with economic and technical assistance. Xi and Bainimarama attended the signing ceremony.
Fiji's interim government Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama (R) watches as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (C) accepts a whale's tooth at a traditional welcoming ceremony in Nandi, Fiji, Feb. 9, 2009. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)