|Wang Yi Chairs First China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting|
On October 21, 2021, the first China-Pacific Island Countries (PICs) Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held via video link. The meeting was chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. President and Foreign Minister Taneti Maamau of Kiribati, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Fiji Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Tonga Pohiva Tu'I'onetoa, Niue's Premier and Foreign Minister Dalton Tagelagi, Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea Soroi Eoe, Foreign Minister of Vanuatu Mark Ati, Foreign Minister of the Federated States of Micronesia Kandhi A. Elieisar, Foreign Minister of the Solomon Islands Jeremiah Manele, representative of Samoa's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Strickland, and Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Henry Puna attended the meeting.
Wang Yi said, President Xi Jinping held the collective meeting with leaders of the PICs having diplomatic ties with China in November 2018. They agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect and common development, which heralded the new era of all-round cooperation. The relations between China and PICs have set an example of friendly exchanges, solidarity and cooperation for countries in different regions and with different sizes, and systems.
Wang Yi said, the growing relations between China and PICs are based on mutual respect and equal treatment, fight against challenges with solidarity, win-win cooperation and common development as well as mutual understanding and mutual learning. China is willing to work with PICs to seize opportunities, cooperate in good faith, and jointly build a closer comprehensive strategic partnership.
First, deepen policy communication. On issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, both sides should continue to understand and support each other, maintain national sovereignty and dignity, safeguard legitimate development rights and interests, and jointly achieve national rejuvenation. We need to establish a regular meeting mechanism of foreign ministers of China and PICs.
Second, deepen cooperation against the pandemic. China will continue to provide PICs with vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies to the PICs, set up the China-PICs emergency supplies reserve, and inject additional funds to China-Pacific Island Countries Anti-COVID-19 Cooperation Fund. We should jointly resist politicizing the pandemic, using origin-tracing as a tool, and labeling the virus, and ensure the smooth progress of international anti-pandemic cooperation.
Third, boost economic recovery. We need to form a synergy of the Global Development Initiative, and strive to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development earlier. China will follow the principle of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests, work with PICs for high-quality BRI cooperation, and continue to provide economic and technological assistance to PICs with no political strings attached. China will hold China-Pacific Island Countries Fishery Cooperation and Development Forum this year, and set up the China-Pacific Island Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Center to help PICs speed up independent and sustainable development.
Fourth, jointly address challenges. China is committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, and promoting new progress of adaption and financing issues that developing countries are concerned about. China decides to set up the China-Pacific Island Countries Climate Change Cooperation Center, supports PICs' initiative of Blue Pacific, and continues to fund the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. China calls on the prudent handling of the disposal of nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in an open, transparent and responsible manner, and no discharge is allowed before reaching consensus with all stakeholders.
Fifth, expand people-to-people exchanges. We need to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in areas such as education, culture, health and sports. China will continue to provide PICs with government scholarships, support the Secretariat of the Pacific Tourism Organization, and encourage China's provinces and cities to increase public-benefit cooperation with PICs.
Sixth, practice multilateralism. We need to uphold humanity's common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom, maintain the international system with the UN at the core and the international order based on international law, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. The nuclear submarine cooperation among the United States, Britain and Australia will create risks of nuclear proliferation, undermine the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty, cause arms race, and jeopardize regional peace and stability. China will work with PICs to jointly safeguard the international non-proliferation system and the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone with the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as the cornerstone.
Wang Yi emphasized, China is willing to, with the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, assist the PICs in accelerating independent development and delivering common revitalization. As long as we pool our efforts, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and PICs will herald a better future, which will bring more benefits to the people of both sides.
Representatives of the PICs generally believed that the meeting is timely and significant, and support the institutionalization of the foreign ministers' meeting. All parties thank China for its long-term selfless assistance and support for the development of the PICs, extend congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, reiterate the firm upholding of the one-China policy, and support China in safeguarding its core interests. All parties support the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and hope to increase governance experience sharing with China and deepen Belt and Road cooperation, elevating the comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level. All parties speak highly of China's commitment to making vaccines a global public good, and are willing to work with China to strengthen solidarity in fighting against the pandemic, enhance communication and coordination on global issues such as upholding multilateralism and climate change response, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
The meeting also put forth and focused on the discharge of the nuclear contaminated water, and reiterated the commitment to maintaining the international non-proliferation system and the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone.