Samoa and China toasts growing relationship
Samoans and Chinese broke bread together on Friday night to celebrate the 69th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
At a lavish banquet dinner hosted by the Chinese Embassy, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, diplomatic corp representatives, and ordinary citizens alike raised a glass to the ongoing friendship between the two nations.
Chinese Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng talked about the “constant development” of China-Samoa relations, including the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and President Xi Jinping regarding the Belt and Road initiative.
He also said the Chinese government will actively support the hosting of the 2019 Pacific Games, not only with the ongoing renovations to Apia park stadium, aquatic centre and sports complex but also with free sports equipment, transportation during the games, and expert technicians for the firework display.
“Every little achievement in China-Samoa friendship could not have been made without the join efforts of leaders and peoples of both countries,” he said.
Acting Prime Minister, Tuitama Dr. Talalelei Tuitama, said the relationship between the countries remains underpinned by Samoa’s support of the One China policy. He said the positive government relations have filtered down to the people, resulting in economic and social benefits to both nations.
Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, was in attendance, as well as Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt and Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu.
Among the guests was China-Samoa Agricultural Technical Cooperation Project head, Jim Liu.
He said he was excited to see the nation’s friendship develop, and liked how the Chinese government was helping development across many fields.
Mr. Liu said through the agriculture project, he has seen Samoan and Chinese friendships blossom.
“Most people know China is not making Samoa worse, but only better,” he said.
Members of the Shanghai Construction Group who helped build Faleolo International Airport and are now working on Pacific Games sites, said they have loved living in Samoa.
Yang Xu is a translator for the group and said it’s wonderful to see people from different countries working together for one goal – to make Samoa more beautiful.
Dr Rasul Baghirov attended on behalf of the World Health Organisation and said he has been glad to see the health sector supported by the Chinese government.
He said he was surprised at the success of the recent visit of five eye doctors from Zhongshan University, who conducted 68 cataract surgeries in just two days, all for free.
United States Embassy chargé d’affaires Tony Greubel served in China from 2011-15, and he said he was happy to be at the national day celebrations.
“As a development partner, China has helped Samoa greatly, which is good to see,” he said.
This year also marks 40 years of China’s economic reform and opening trade doors.