China has called on Samoa to reaffirm its support for the “One China policy,” and to refrain from any engagement with Taiwan.
The call was made in Beijing, China, last week by China’s Vice Minister for International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (I.D.C.P.C.), Guo Yezhou.
Mr. Guo met with a Parliament delegation from Samoa that was on a fact-finding mission in the People’s Republic of China
The delegation was led by Senior Member of Parliament, Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana-Gidlow.
“China is the only country which has not been reunited yet,” Mr. Guo is quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Government’s Press Secretary.
“That is why the Taiwan issue and the One China policy are very important to China’s territorial integrity and sentiment to China’s 1.3 billion people so I believe that our Samoan friends can understand and support China’s position.”
He assured Samoa that China is “resolute in reuniting our country and one day Taiwan will come back to the motherland.”
It was then he urged the Parliamentarians from Samoa to relay a request to the leaders to refrain from official engagement with Taiwan and also from signing any official agreement with Taiwan.
“It is a highly sensitive issue to China and her 1.3 billion people.”
Back in Samoa, the call was well received by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who said Samoa’s engagement with China since 1975 remains underpinned by the One China policy.
“And we will continue to support the One China Policy,” he said.
Tuilaepa noted that after more than 40 years of beneficial diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic, the Government and the people of Samoa remain firm on their resolve to support the One China policy.
“Samoa has benefitted immensely through development co-operation programmes, particularly in improving its infrastructure, thanks to China’s generosity,” Tuilaepa said.
“Likewise, many Samoans have benefited through the various avenues for capacity building through scholarship and training programs as well as the deployment of technical expertise in various fields, such as agriculture, education, maintenance of sports facilities and health.
“With the assistance from the mainland, Samoa continues to boast first-class sporting facilities, which has contributed to Samoa’s recent successful bid to host the upcoming South Pacific Games in 2019.”
“Samoa has also consistently given its support for China at the United Nations and various international fora.”
Tuilaepa, who is also Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, noted that government also looks forward to opportunities for trade and investment and Samoa appreciated the demonstration of such potential at the recent Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Apia.
He added that in the recent past Samoa have seen the emergence of new Chinese entrepreneurship in local communities; there are benefits both ways, but government must ensure that the balance is maintained, so as to encourage fair competition and ensure that the friendly relations between our two countries are maintained.
And the sentiments were echoed in Beijing.
Elaborated the IDCPC senior Vice Minister Guo Yezhou;
“We are very happy to see that China’s relationships with the Pacific Island countries including Samoa continues to develop very soundly and in a sustainable way.
“We understand that some countries have suspicions and misunderstanding with about the relationship with China and Pacific Island countries.
“The Pacific Islands is our backyard.
“As the second largest economy in the world, China is doing everything she can to assist with the development of the Pacific Island countries. Our relationship is open and we have nothing to hide.”
Samoa is the first Pacific Island country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and China-Samoa relationship has become the model of friendly cooperation for China with other Pacific island countries.