11 August 2020
Yao Ming (L), David Gina (R).

THE PEOPLE’s Republic of China (PRC) Embassy has assured the Western Provincial Government (WPG) that the deal to establish a sister relationship with the Fujian Province of China is intact.

Chinese Counselor of the People’s Republic of Chinese (PRC) Embassy in Solomon Islands Yao Ming made the assurance on Monday in response to concern raised by Premier David Gina early this week.

Mr. Gina expressed his displeasure over the lack of response from the Chinese government following promises being made to the province last year. 

But in response to the concern, Mr. Ming blamed the current health crisis as the reason for the delay in implementing any deal.

In an interview with the paper yesterday he acknowledged Mr. Gina as the first premier to open publicly declared his favour for the switch to China from Taiwan.

After the switch, Mr. Ming visited Gizo and met with the premier where they discussed opportunities to help the province.

“And he was excited about the potential of this partnership,” Mr. Ming said.

“Unfortunately due to COVID-19 pandemic this to plan to establish this sister relationship between Fujian Province and Western Province could not happen,” he said.

Mr. Ming said this proposed sister relationship is similar to what Guadalcanal Province had with Guangdong Province of China.

Fujian Province is situated just opposite Taiwan, Mr. Ming said.

He said once the relationship is established resources would be mobilised to the country as part of a long term partnership development program.

“Our plan is to mobilise resources from Fujian Province to Solomon Islands especially Western province to help build infrastructure.

“This is a long term commitment. We are not here to provide a one-off donation.

“Our commitment to Solomon Islands in particular Guadalcanal, Malaita and Western Provinces is to offer equal long term development,” he said.

Mr. Ming said the Chinese government wants to sign the documents as soon as possible to pave the way for Fujian Province and Western Province to have more interactions.

He said Fujian Province is one of the richest provinces in China.

“That's why we recommend this province to have a sister relationship with Western Province.

“The second reason is to attract investors from Fujian Province to come and invest in Western Province,” he said.

He highlighted that Guadalcanal Province has benefited from a similar relationship with Guangdong Province for over ten years now.

“Every year we tried to bring a new project to Guadalcanal,” he said.

He added once his officials settle down in their soon to be opened embassy office they will need to work with the national government on a number of projects.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Ming asks for understanding and patience from the premiers on project plans.

“I asked all premiers to have patience with us.”

He said Taiwan has been here for 36 years, but they are only here for a year.

“I think our relationship will make a lot of difference compared to Taiwan because China is the second-largest economy in the world,” he said.