SUVA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of years have passed since China and Pacific Island countries established diplomatic relations in 1970s and the ties of friendship and cooperation between them have witnessed a significant growth, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Han Zhiqiang said here Wednesday.
Ambassador Han made the remarks while presenting a lecture in the Suva-based University of South Pacific (USP) mainly on China' s relations with Pacific Island countries.
Han noted that "our friendship with Pacific Island countries booms in many areas like trade and economic cooperation, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, development assistance as well as coordination and collaboration in international affairs, which results in plenty of substantial outcomes and benefits for the people in this region."
He took China-assisted projects like multi-purpose sports stadium in Suva, the parliament building of Vanuatu, Tonga high school building, the sports center in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Cook Islands' High Court building, the Demonstrating Farm in Samoa as example, saying "all these bring tangible benefits to the people in this region."
He said China's trade volume with Pacific island countries reached a new high of 3.66 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, which is 50 percent higher than the figure in the previous year.
China's export to the region is 2.59 billion dollars, a 42 percent increase over the previous year, while Pacific island countries' export to China is 1.08 billion dollars, a nearly 100 percent surging increase over the previous year.
Meanwhile, China's investments to Pacific island countries have reached 106.7 million dollars in 2010. Samoa, Marshall Islands, PNG and Fiji are major destinations for Chinese investments.
In the tourism sector, Chinese tourists to this region also increase significantly after China designated Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, PNG and some other Pacific islands countries as the Chinese citizen's outbound tourist destinations. Chinese tourists to Fiji last year exceed 18,000, 32 percent more than previous year.
According to the Chinese envoy, China has been a Post-Forum Dialogue partner since 1996 and China-Forum Cooperation Fund was established in 2003 with around 5 million dollars to provide financial support to projects agreed by two sides.
China also contributed a lot for other regional organizations like the South Pacific Tourism Organization, the Pacific Community as well as the University of South Pacific.
The ambassador said China and Pacific island countries are all developing countries and both are facing similar tasks in realizing our growth, stability and prosperity.
Pacific islands countries, with important geographic location, abundant natural resources and hardworking people, are countries full of potential for great leap-forward, and China, on the other hand, has sufficient and suitable capital, technology, market, Han said, adding the two sides are highly complementary to each other and there is great potential for our further cooperation.
The development of cooperation between China and Pacific IslandcCountries reflects the historic trend of economic globalization.
To further strengthen the cooperation and exchanges serves the fundamental interests of Pacific islands countries and peoples, which will be conducive to economic development and peace, stability of the whole region, Han added.