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MEDIA RELEASE November 5, 1998


In a special presentation at the Cook Islands High Commission Chancery in Wellington on Wednesday 4 November 1998, the Cook Islands High Commissioner H.E. Dr. Jon Tikivanotau M. Jonassen accepted a variety of items from the Chinese Ambassador to the Cook Islands, H. E. Mr. Wenzhao Chen.

The items were a result of the Ambassador's visits to Rarotonga and Aitutaki, the visit to China by the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Vaine Tairea, and the Ambassador's interest in providing assistance to the High Commission in Wellington. It also represented several months of collaboration between the Embassy and High Commission Staff.

The items include one Tiger 504 tractor, which is designated for the Ministry of Agriculture. The Tiger is arriving at Rarotonga around 18 November this year.

Office equipment and stationery received are identified as follows:

1) one copy machine for Tereora College;

2) one copy machine for Titikaveka College;

3) children's readings and 20 video tapes for the Black Rock Pre-school;

4) one TV set for the Ministry of Culture;

5) 10 video tapes on China for Cook Islands Television;

6) one tape recorder for the House of Ariki;

7) one TV set and one video recorder for the Women's Club in Aitutaki; and

8) one computer for the Cook Islands High Commission in New Zealand.

The Ambassador described the gifts through his Embassy as a way of "showing the feelings of the Chinese people to the people of the Cook Islands."

In thanking the Ambassador, the High Commissioner highlighted "the continuing mutual trust, respect and excellent relations existing between the two countries".

MEDIA RELEASE November 5, 1998


The Telecom Cook Islands (TCI) Board has approved the expenditure of 1.4 million dollars to reconstruct telecommunication facilities in Manihiki.

The funding of the project is fully sourced by TCI.

Negotiations are well underway with suppliers for equipment. However, due to the complexity of the system envisaged for Manihiki, negotiations are taking some time to complete.

TCI is looking at introducing a Wireless Local Loop (WLL) solution for Tahunu and the Kavas. Meanwhile, due to delays that have occurred with the project, TCI is hopeful to have a temporary solution for Tukau which will give residents more phone lines by Christmas.

MEDIA RELEASE November 5, 1998


The Prime Minister, the Hon. Sir Geoffrey Henry, KBE, and Lady Henry will leave tomorrow morning on an official visit to Japan and China, guests of the Governments of the two countries.

While in Japan, the Prime Minister will lead the Cook Islands delegation at the opening of the South Pacific General Trade Exhibition and Investment Promotion Seminar to be held in Tokyo. He will then take part in a visit by a representative group of Forum Leaders to inspect Japanese nuclear facilities and arrangements for the shipment of nuclear materials between Japan and Europe.

"The Cook Islands and other Forum member countries have long expressed their serious concern at risks of an accident occurring in the shipment of nuclear materials through our region and the consequences of such an accident for the South Pacific, especially for our fisheries and tourism," explained the Prime Minister. "This visit, arranged by the Japanese Government and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, will enable Forum Leaders to see at first hand what facilities and arrangements the Japanese have in place for the treatment and shipment of nuclear materials.'"

"Just as important", stressed Sir Geoffrey, "is the fact that this visit will offer myself and other Forum Leaders an excellent opportunity to convey our concerns directly to both the Japanese Government and industrial officials concerned with these shipments."

An invitation has also been extended by the Government of the People's Republic of China to the Prime Minister and Lady Henry to pay an official visit to China. There, the Prime Minister will meet with the Chinese Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji, for discussions on bilateral and international matters of importance to both the Cook Islands and China, including climate change and protection of the region's fisheries. The two leaders will sign a bilateral trade agreement that will form the basis for the development of trade and investment relations in the years to come.

"In the last decade, China has had one of the world's fastest-growing economies and is very interested in developing its economic and trade relations with our part of the world well into the next century," observed the Prime Minister. "This visit will give me an excellent opportunity to develop important contacts upon which the Cook Islands can build in the years to come."

The airfares for the Prime Minister and Lady Henry plus an accompanying official are being provided by the Japanese and Chinese authorities. While in Japan and China, they will be the guests of the two Governments. The Prime Minister and Lady Henry return on 27 November.

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