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Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Somare Made an Official Visit to China

At the invitation of the Chinese Primier Wen Jiabao, Rt. Hon. Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea made an official visit to the People's Republic of China from Feb. 9 to 11. The Rt. Hon. brought with him a delegation of over 80 people, among whom 42 were governmental officials.

In Beijing, President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress met with the Prime Minister. Premier Wen Jiabao held official bilateral talks with Sir Michael Somare. Sir Michael Somare expressed his thanks to the Chinese leaders for their warm welcome and hospitality, as well as China's economic aid to PNG. Sir Michael also reiterated the one China policy of the PNG government. The Chinese leaders expressed their appreciation of the one China policy adhered to by the PNG government and hoped the two sides will make further efforts for the continued development of the bilateral cooperation and friendship in various fields.

As a result several memoranda of understanding and agreements were reached between the two sides in the fields of economy, technological cooperation, agriculture, mining and education. The Chinese Metallurgical Construction Corporation agreed in principle to invest and develop the Ramu Nickel Mine in Madang. If this project can be successfully carried out, it will surely benefit the two countries.

This visit also featured a PNG Trade Seminar in Beijing. Sir Michael gave a keynote speech about trade and investment opportunities in PNG and hoped more Chinese companies could come to invest in PNG to help its economic recovery. Mr. Yu Ping, Vice President of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade also briefed the participants on trade and investment development of China last year. The seminar drew considerable attention from business circles of the two countries.

Sir Michael and his delegation also visited Shanghai on Feb. 11. Mr. Han Zheng, Mayor of Shanghai met with the delegation. Sir Michael Somare and his delegation were amazed at the new development of Shanghai, and left China with a deep impression that PNG could benefit from its friendly relations and cooperation with China.

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