CHINA’s Foreign Minister, His Excellency Wang Yi has ended his visit to Solomon Islands on a high note, jointly announcing a series of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed in Honiara this week.
The one-and a half day visit is the Minister’s first to Solomon Islands and is the start of a tour of the South Pacific. The Minister leaves for the Cook Islands and Niue this morning.
In Honiara on Thursday, Minister Wang held separate formal discussions with Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Jeremiah Manele.
The visiting Foreign Minister later paid a courtesy call on acting Governor General, Patteson Oti, who is also the Speaker of the National Parliament. The incumbent Head of State, Sir David Vunagi, is away overseas on medical grounds.
In a joint news conference concluding Foreign Minister Wang’s visit, both men announced the signing and exchange of letters on the six MOUs.
These are the:
- MOU on Mutual Visa Exemption, enabling visa waiver arrangement between Solomon Islands and People’s Republic of China. This is to promote more people-to-people exchange between Solomon Islands and China;
- The MOU on Health Cooperation oversees the implementation of Comprehensive Medical Centre that will accommodate and enable the use of tele-medicine. This MOU will also provide for short and long term visit, study visits and human resource deployment;
- MOU on deepening Blue economy which aims to foster development and economic investment in the marine sector;
- MOU on Cooperation in Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response, which provide(s) for emergency supply system and contingency plans between Solomon Islands and China in terms of disaster reduction measures;
- Exchange of letters and formal declaration of the sister relations between Honiara City and Jiangmen City was also formally announced earlier today;
- Also, today we witnessed the exchange of letters for the funding assistance from China Development Cooperation Agency that will cover the funds needed for the 2023 Pacific Games Projects, SINU Dormitory Building project and other projects that will be agreed upon by Solomon Islands and (the) People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Mr. Manele told journalists formalising the MOUs and agreements with the exchange of letters “another step forward in cementing the bilateral solidarity of Solomon Islands and (the) People’s Republic of China to enhance cooperation, mutual trust and realize prosperity for all.”
He told his counterpart, “it is truly an honor to host you and your delegation (on) the first leg of your Pacific tour and be assured by your goodself that Solomon Islands and the People’s Republic of China relations is at the forefront of PRC-Pacific relations.”
“Since the establishment of the permanent bond between Solomon Islands ant (the) People’s Republic of China, China has impressively supported Solomon Islands in the country’s socio-economic, infrastructural and development aspirations.
“Similarly, China is the largest donor partner investing in the upcoming South Pacific Games as Solomon Islands look forward to host the region’s biggest sporting event in 2023.
“This visit marks a significant milestone in the friendly relations between Solomon Islands the People’s Republic of China as the two governments continue to strengthen cooperation, mutual trust and respect and enhance bilateral commitments to realize a WIN-WIN situation for both parties,” the Minister said.
In response, Minister Wang reiterated China’s commitment and vows to work together in order to achieve better outcomes for all.
By ALFRED SASAKO