BEIJING, July 11, 2023 /CNW/ — China and the Solomon Islands announced the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring “mutual respect and common development for a new era,” in a move to upgrade bilateral ties during the Pacific nation leader’s visit to Beijing.
Since the two countries established diplomatic relations, their friendly cooperation has become a pacesetter for the relations between China and other island countries in the Pacific in spite of a relatively late start, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday afternoon while meeting Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare.
The Solomon Islands established diplomatic relations with China in 2019 after cutting ties with the Taiwan region, officially recognizing the one-China principle alongside over 180 countries across the world.
Thriving cooperation projects
Cooperation between the two sides is a paradigm of unity, cooperation and common development for countries of different sizes, and for developing countries, Xi said.
“China is ready to enhance strategic communication and deepen cooperation in various fields with the Solomon Islands to ensure the steady progress of the bilateral ties and bring more benefits to the two peoples,” Xi said.
China is the Pacific nation’s largest trading partner with the total volume standing at $498 million in 2022, according to official numbers. Exports from the Solomon Islands to China take up two thirds of the country’s total exports.
The Chinese president added that the country is willing to ensure development and long-term stability of the island country, and is ready to share the development opportunities brought by Chinese modernization, strengthen synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Solomon Islands’ Development Strategy 2035, expand practical cooperation in various fields, and expand imports from the Solomon Islands.
“China is supporting more Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in the Solomon Islands, and will continue to provide economic and technical assistance to the country without any political strings attached,” Xi said. He urged the two sides to expand friendly exchanges in fields like medical care and education, and said that China supports the Solomon Islands in hosting the 17th Pacific Games.
‘Respect sovereignty of each other’
During their talks, Xi stressed that China fully respects the sovereignty and independence of Pacific island countries, and upholds the equality of all countries, big or small.
China fully respects the will of Pacific island countries and pursues extensive consultation, joint contribution, shared benefits and win-win results. China fully respects the cultural traditions of Pacific island countries, and adheres to harmony in diversity and shared beauty of diverse cultures. China fully respects the unity and self-reliance of Pacific island countries, and supports them in implementing the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, contributing to the building of a peaceful, harmonious, secure, inclusive and prosperous Blue Pacific, Xi said.
He also greatly appreciates the Solomon Islands’ firm adherence to the one-China principle, supports the Solomon Islands in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and supports the development path that the country itself has chosen.
China is committed to running its own affairs well, and will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order, Xi noted.
China understands that island countries in the Pacific face severe challenges caused by climate change, and stands ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with them in such areas as meteorological services, disaster prevention and mitigation, and clean energy to help them implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Xi said.
He also said that China is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with the Solomon Islands, uphold genuine multilateralism, safeguard international fairness and justice, jointly oppose the Cold War mentality and hegemonism, and safeguard peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.
Noting that the decision to establish diplomatic relations with China was a correct choice, Sogavare said fruitful outcomes have been achieved in bilateral ties and China has become the Solomon Islands’ largest infrastructure partner and a reliable development partner.
The Solomon Islands firmly adheres to the one-China principle and is willing to maintain close high-level exchanges with China, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in trade, investment, cultural and sub-national areas, and jointly respond to global challenges such as climate change, Sogavare said, adding that the country opposes any actions that contain or aim to contain China’s development.
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