China, PNG agree to forge comprehensive strategic partnership
Updated 15:01, 19-Nov-2018
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Peter O'Neill agreed during their talks in PNG's capital city Port Moresby on Friday to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development between the two countries.
Xi, who is on a state visit to PNG, hailed the frequent high-level exchanges and fruitful practical cooperation between the two countries in recent years. China firmly supports PNG in choosing a development path that suits its national situation and appreciates the PNG government's unwavering adherence to the one-China policy, he stressed.
To strengthen political guidance to bilateral ties, the two countries have decided to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership of mutual respect and common development, said the Chinese president.
Hailing the move a demonstration of traditional friendship between the two countries, Xi noted that the partnership will inject strong impetus to their further exchanges and cooperation.
China is willing to make joint efforts with PNG to enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation and further develop their friendship, he added.
Papua New Guinea is the first among the Pacific islands countries to sign deals with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, Xi said.
The two countries should strengthen the alignment of development strategies and reach a free trade agreement as soon as possible, he noted.
Xi also called on the two sides to strengthen cooperation in capacity, trade, investment, finance, education, tourism and more.
China supports Papua New Guinea in hosting this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting and wish them a success, Xi said.
O'Neill said that it is the first time that a Chinese president paid a state visit to PNG, which is a historical moment to the country.
PNG will firmly adhere to the one-China principle and will keep strengthening strong relations with China, he added.
He expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government's long-running support and assistance to the country's economic and social development, especially the help in preventing and controlling malaria in remote areas of the country and the aid in reconstructing after a recent earthquake.
He noted that China's Belt and Road Initiative will help promote cooperation and connectivity among Pacific islands countries and PNG is willing to take an active role in jointly building of the Belt and Road.
PNG is willing to start negotiations on a free trade agreement with China as soon as possible and will strengthen cooperation on trade, productivity, tourism, education and infrastructure with China, he added.
O'Neill highly values China's adherence to the rules-based international order in international affairs and supports negotiation between China and Pacific island countries in areas such as fishery, tourism and climate changes.
Early in the day, Xi attended a welcome ceremony hosted by PNG Governor-General Bob Dadae.
During his stay in PNG, Xi will also meet with leaders from other Pacific island countries that have diplomatic relations with China and attend the annual APEC meeting.