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Global Times

China and NZ key partners of South Pacific; region not arena for power competition: Chinese FM

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Jul 08, 2022 06:19 PM

Both China and New Zealand are key partners of the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and the South Pacific is not an arena for major power competition but a platform for international cooperation, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said during a routine press briefing on Friday.

China always upholds mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness in developing relations and cooperating with PICs. China does not attach extra political provisions, does not impose its will on others, the cooperation does not target a third party and never asks PICs to take sides, ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

Zhao's comments came following New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stating that it would be wrong to characterize China's engagement with Pacific islands as new or to force the island countries to take sides, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Zhao said China is willing to work with countries including New Zealand to conduct more trilateral or multilateral programs, leverage respective strengths and form a joint force to help boost the development of PICs.

The spokesperson also noted the development of China-New Zealand relations, as the two countries celebrate 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2022. China and New Zealand have set an example in cooperation of countries with different social systems, history and culture, and levels of development.

Zhao on Friday was also asked to comment on Solomon Islands' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's remarks — in which the prime minister thanked China which had already demonstrated a "genuine intention" to be a "worthy partner" of his country at a celebration marking the country's independence 44 years ago.

Zhao extended congratulations for the special day and underscored the relations between China and the Solomon Islands have been fruitful and enjoy great momentum.

Bilateral relations have been in the fast track since the two countries established diplomatic relations nearly three years ago and have become a model for equal relations between countries of different sizes and cooperation of developing countries, Zhao said.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi making the Solomon Islands his first stop during a South Pacific tour in May also highlighted the high level of bilateral ties and injected new momentum to bilateral exchanges and cooperation, Zhao said.

It has been demonstrated that the establishment of diplomatic relations and the development of friendly and cooperative relations between China and Solomon Islands conform to the trend of the times, to the fundamental and long-term interests of the two peoples, and enjoy strong vitality and broad prospects, the spokesperson said.

China will always be a trustworthy and reliable friend and partner of the Solomon Islands, and is willing to strengthen dialogue, exchanges and cooperation with the Solomon Islands in various fields, so as to promote the continuous progress of bilateral relations and better benefit the two peoples, he said.

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