“Ignorant and ridiculous remarks,” Chinese Ambassador responds

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 25 January 2019, 12:00AM

China’s Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng, has responded to what he has described as “ignorant and ridiculous remarks” made by Salega M.P., Olo Fiti Va’ai, in connection to the Chinese flag flying at different project sites in Samoa.

Mr. Wang has also corrected claims the new gymnasium being built at Tuana’imato is contributing to Samoa’s $410 million debt to China, saying the construction is in fact being funded by grant aid.

The claim was made by Olo in a story titled “Chinese flags anger M.P.” published on the front page of the Sunday Samoan last week. 

 “This is Samoa and while we are thankful to the Chinese Government for their assistance, the fact remains these are not aid, these projects are all part of the $410 million debt owed to China,” Olo said. 

“These projects are not free so why are we allowing them to fly their flags on the project sites – it does not make any sense.”

But in an opinion piece sent to the Weekend Observer yesterday titled “Remove the ignorant and ridiculous remarks, let the flag of China-Samoa friendship fly higher,” Mr. Wang said Olo’s claims “deviated from the facts and truths.”

“The article contains many ignorant and ridiculous remarks, which obviously deviated from the facts and truths. Chinese Embassy in Samoa would seriously point out the untruthful and ignorant errors,” Mr. Wang writes.

“Firstly, the on-going project of the gymnasium at Tuanaimato is a grant aid project of the Chinese government in support of Samoan Government in hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, which has nothing to do with loans and debts of any kind. Therefore the statement that “these projects are all part of the $410 million debt owned to China” is a totally ungrounded rumor.

“Secondly, the picture with three flags in the article is not a complete picture at all. The fact is, there are flags on both sides of the gate of the constructions site of the gymnasium at Tuanaimato including both a Samoan National Flag and a Chinese National Flag.

“Thirdly, it is a common international practice to fly flags of both the donor country (or countries) and the recipient country on the cooperation project construction sites. The only purpose is to indicate friendship and cooperation between or among the countries.” 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has rubbished Olo’s claim, defending the Chinese flag flying among other flags at the sites of projects they are funding. 

Read Mr. Wang’s opinion piece 

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 25 January 2019, 12:00AM

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