Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu Held 2020 Chinese New Year Reception

     On January 17, 2020, H.E. Zhou Haicheng, Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Vanuatu and his wife Mdm. Zhou Xia hosted a reception in the Chinese Embassy to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and Mdm. Salwai, Minister Ralph Regenvanu, Minister Jean Pierre Nirua, other members of parliament, provincial presidents and lord mayors were present. They were joined by about 170 guests, including heads of diplomatic missions, Vanuatu government officials of different levels, journalists, business people, scholars, and representatives of the Chinese community, enterprises, the medical team and teachers in Vanuatu.

     Ambassador Zhou said in his remarks that 2019 was an important year for China's development. The CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core led the whole country to make great achievements in various fields and demonstrate extraordinary Chinese splendor and Chinese strength.

     Ambassador Zhou stressed that in 2019, China, weathering rain and storm, forged ahead on the diplomatic front. China stayed committed to multilateralism and building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity and justice and win-win cooperation. China has become a true pillar of world peace and stability and a major engine for global development and prosperity.

     Ambassador Zhou said 2020 will be a milestone year for China. China will complete the 13th Five Year Plan, eliminate absolute poverty, and realize a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. China will achieve the first centenary goal and start a new journey toward the second centenary goal. China is determined to walk along the road of peaceful development and will resolutely safeguard world peace and promote common development. We are willing to join hands with people of all countries in the world to build together the Belt and Road Initiative, and push forward the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

     Ambassador Zhou pointed out that China and Vanuatu worked to promote the China-Vanuatu comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development and achieved fruitful outcomes in 2019. Hon. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai paid a successful official visit to China. There had been close exchanges of personnel at all levels, and practical cooperation in various fields had been continuously deepened. The China-Vanuatu relationship is at its best time in history and has been a model for relations between China and Pacific island countries. This year, Vanuatu will celebrate the 40th anniversary of independence, host the Pacific Islands Forum and graduate from the UN list of least developed countries. China stands ready to provide assistance and support to Vanuatu within its means as the country enters a new era of development. China is willing to work with Vanuatu to further consolidate and deepen our bilateral relations, and bring more tangible benefits to our two peoples.

     On behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Vanuatu, Honorable Charlot Salwai extended warm congratulations to the Chinese People for a bountiful and prosperous “Year of the Rat”. Hon. Salwai said that Vanuatu commended and appreciated gestures of the Chinese government under the Belt and Road flagship and the hugely successful China International Import Expo(CIIE) and looked forward to participating in both flagships going forward. The Vanuatu Government congratulated the Chinese Government on the monumental achievements over the past year, in socio-economic development, in technology and infrastructural development and innovation; and in Space and Antarctica explorations. Vanuatu was similarly encouraged by China’s national rejuvenation objectives for 2020, particularly the 13th Five Year Plan, to eliminate absolute poverty, and realise moderately prosperous societal advancement.

     Mr. Salwai said, China-Vanuatu relations had continued to remain amicable and robust since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1982. He echoed Ambassador Zhou by saying this relationship was at its best time in history and had been a model for relations between China and Pacific Island Countries. Hon. Salwai hoped that this relationship would continue to remain so, and grow from strength to strength on the basis of mutual respect with collective efforts. He continued, “2019 was indeed a year of many milestone achievements in our mutual developmental relationship. The various occasions of high-level exchanges between our leaders, under the auspices of the second Belt and Road Forum, the CIIE and the Third China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum, in Apia, Samoa, offered invaluable opportunities to dialogue on issues of mutual interest. Practical cooperation in the provision of consular services, fisheries, infrastructural development, civil aviation, investment, e-commerce and cooperation in information, communication, technology are but some of the important areas of cooperation. I am pleased to note the Tanna and Malekula Roads Rehabilitation projects is now in Phase II, and the design team for the Pentecost Road (which I understand) will be travelling to Vanuatu in March this year. I also look forward to the commencement of the reconstruction and extension projects of the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, followed by that of the State House, in April 2020. These projects are not unlike the hugely successful Malapoa College and Sino-Van Fisheries projects, which continue to affect positively the lives of the average ni-Vanuatu. I also wish to acknowledge initiatives, which would serve to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and cross-cultural learning and understanding, through cultural scholarships as well as the various sister city arrangements.”

     Mr. Salwai said, “While 2020 ushers in an important milestone for Vanuatu, in the celebration of 40 years of political independence, therefore a certain degree   of maturity, our challenges remain. The Vanuatu Government looks forward to China’s friendship and support in 2020, particularly as it looks to host its 40th Independence Anniversary, the 51st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Port Vila in August this year, and as the incoming Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Indeed, Vanuatu welcomes China’s offer of support towards these important events, and looks forward to continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest.”

     Guests present watched videos about Chinese culture and development during the reception. Students from Port Vila Central School sang a Chinese song entitled “Friends” and performed a Vanuatu custom dance.

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