Statement by Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi People’s Republic OfChina

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31ST PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM

Statement By
Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
People’s Republic Of China

Post-Forum Dialogue Tarawa, Kiribati October 30, 2000

I would like to thank the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) for inviting me to this Post-Forum Dialogue. I am very pleased to head the delegation of the Chinese Government to the Dialogue for the fifth time. First of all, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government, warm congratulations on the success of the PIF Summit and thanks to the Forum and the Government of Kiribati, the host country, for the warm reception and thoughtful arrangements. I wish this Post-Forum Dialogue will, as always, produce positive results.

I. COMMENTS ON BILATERAL RELATIONS

1. The Development Of China-Pacific Islands Forum Relations Since Last Dialogue

Since the last Dialogue, relations between China and PIF island countries have registered further development with frequent exchanges of high-level visits. On the part of PIF countries, the following VIPs visited China: His Majesty Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, King of Tonga; Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa; Hon. Leo A Falcam, President of the Federated States of Micronesia; Hon. Tekiree Tamuera, Speaker of the House of Assembly of the Republic of Kiribati, Hon. Teaiwa Tenieu, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Kiribati, Hon. Beniamina Tinga, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Kiribati; Hon. Bernard Mullu Narokobi, Speaker of the National Parliament of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and Hon. John Kaputin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea; Hon James Bule, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu, Hon. Serge Vohor, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sato Kilman, Minister of Comprehensive Reform Programme of Vanuatu; Hon. Cecil Cocker, Minister of Works of Tonga; Hon. Mahendra Chaudhry, former Prime Minister of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, and Hon. Lavenia Wainiqolo Padarath, Minister for Women, Culture and Social Welfare of Fiji. Vice Chairman Zhou Guangzhao of the National People’s Congress of China visited Fiji and Tonga.

Mr. Zhang Wenkang, Minister of Public Health, attended the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of Papua New Guinea’s independence as special envoy of the Chinese Government. Mr. Chen Yaobang, Minister of Agriculture, visited Samoa and the Cook Islands. Mr. Sun Guangxiang, Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation visited Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati and Tonga. The State Meteorological Administration of China sent representative to the Seventh Meeting of meteorological authorities of South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The above-mentioned friendly exchanges have greatly enhanced the mutual understanding and friendship between China and PIF countries and forcefully promoted mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides.

Considerable progress has also been made in the economic, trade and technological cooperation between the two sides. There has been greater complementarity in our economy and two-way trade is growing rapidly. According to Chinese customs statistics, the total trade volume between China and PIF island countries, excluding Australia and New Zealand, reached 168 million U.S. dollars in 1999, an increase of 93.6% over the previous year.

From January to August this year, two-way trade topped 171 million U.S. dollars, increasing by 92.1% over the same period the year before. Light industry products, home electronics, textile and food made in China are both of good quality and inexpensive, and very much welcomed by people in the South Pacific. Oil, timber and copper ore produced in the island countries are also well received in China. In 1999, China offered 280 million yuan aid gratis to South Pacific island countries having diplomatic relations with China and provided assistance gratis to the PIF, Forum Fisheries Agency, SPREP and other regional organizations. This has played a positive role in the local social and economic development. China and South Pacific countries complement each other in the field of economic and technical cooperation, which has produced good results, especially in the fields of project contracting and labour cooperation. By the end of 1999, China had signed 889 project engineering and labour contracts in the South Pacific, with a total commitment of 1.07 billion US dollars. From January to August, the two sides signed 164 contracts in the fields of contracting projects and labour services, involving a business commitment of 76.34 million US dollars.

At the same time, the areas for our bilateral cooperation have been further expanded. This has been a good beginning for our cultural exchanges and cooperation. From late November last year to last January, the Chinese acrobatic troupe went on a tour to New Zealand, Samoa, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tonga, and ushered in the dawn of the new century with the local people. At the end of last September, Deputy Prime Minister Hon. James Bule of Vanuatu led an art troupe to China to attend Beijing International Cultural and Tourist Festival 2000.

2. China’s Basic Policy Towards the South Pacific

Since becoming a full Post-Forum Dialogue Partner in 1989, China has been following closely the development in the South Pacific region. Over the past year, despite the temporary difficulties in the domestic political front in some countries, PIF member states have worked hard to overcome the negative impact of natural disasters, expedite economic reform, expand cooperation and promote social development. They have taken an active part in international affairs and enjoyed an ever-rising international standing. As the biggest organization in the region, the PIF has played an important and positive role in maintaining regional stability and development. The Chinese side rejoices at what the PIF and its members achieved over the past year. We hope and believe that they will make even greater progress in the future.

Both China and South Pacific island countries are members of the Asia-Pacific region and both are committed to developing their national economy and safeguarding world peace. We both are faced with the challenges and opportunities arising from political multipolarization and economic globalization. There is no conflict of fundamental interests between us. Rather we have shared interests. As our destinies are linked together by the times, the best choice for us is to join our hands. A lasting, stable and ever growing relationship between China and the South Pacific is our shared view and objective. At present, relations between China and the PIF and the majority of its members are developing well. During this Dialogue Meeting, I will represent the Chinese side in formally signing with the PIF representative three documents, namely, the Exchange of Notes on China-Pacific Islands Forum Cooperation Fund, the Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on the Establishment of a Pacific Islands Forum Trade in China and the Exchange of Notes Concerning the Donation by China to the Pacific Islands Forum for the Establishment of a Pacific Islands Forum Trade Office in China. The signing of these three documents demonstrates the strong desire of China and the PIF to further expand their cooperation and exchanges and marks a new historical stage for all-round growth of their relations. We are convinced that with the establishment of the Pacific Islands Forum Trade Office in China and the China-South Pacific Forum (Pacific Islands Forum) Cooperation Fund, the vast potential of our bilateral cooperation will be fully tapped and its prospects will be even more promising. In addition, the Chinese side will make, during this Dialogue Meeting, a donation of 120,000 US dollars (about one million RMB yuan) to the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, with a view to strengthening our cooperation with South Pacific in environmental protection.

To develop friendly relations and cooperation with the PIF and its members is a set principle of the Chinese Government. As a Post-Forum Dialogue Partner of the Forum, China will support, as always, the efforts made by the Forum to strengthen regional cooperation, promote regional peace and stability and facilitate the sustainable development of the regional economy, rational exploitation of natural resources and protection of the environment. It supports the reasonable demand of PIF island countries in relation to the definition of vulnerability index at the United Nations, their special demand in environmental protection and sustainable development and their efforts to set up a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone. The Chinese Government stands ready to vigorously expand its mutually beneficial cooperation with the Forum and its members in multiple dimensions, pursuant to the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, mutual openness, common prosperity and consensus. I believe that with the concerted efforts of the two sides such cooperation will yield abundant fruits in the new century.

II. TRADE AND INVESTMENT

1. China’s Trade Policy Towards the South Pacific

The Chinese Government places high importance on developing economic relations and trade with Pacific Islands Forum countries. In recent years, our economic relations with some countries in the South Pacific have grown well and trade between the two sides has entered a new stage. There is a great potential for China and South Pacific countries to develop direct trade. China’s light industrial products, household electronics, textile, food and other commodities are inexpensive and yet of high quality and therefore are very much welcomed by the islanders. We hope that while continuing to import traditional commodities from China, South Pacific nations will also consider buying state-of-the-art Chinese ships and light aircraft and encourage their businessmen to participate in the many trade fairs in China, especially Guangzhou Trade Fair, so that they will know what China offers and discuss with their Chinese counterparts. We are also willing to buy products from South Pacific island countries in light of our domestic market demand and capability. I hope that the competent departments of the two sides will have more discussions in this direction. China stands ready to further develop economic cooperation and trade with all countries in the South Pacific on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and complementarity.

2. South Pacific Free Trade Zone

The Chinese Government supports the Pacific Islands Forum in its active efforts for greater strength through unity among the island countries and wishes success to the initiative of South Pacific Free Trade Zone. We believe that the initiative will contribute to the expansion of intra- and inter-regional economic cooperation and trade, the promotion of common economic development in the region and the improvement of the standing of South Pacific island countries in the process of economic globalization.

III. TAIWAN QUESTION

1. China’s Principled Position

Since coming to power, the new leader in Taiwan has so far refused to recognize the principle of one China. This amounts to a continuation of the separatist position of Taiwan independence.

The principle of one China constitutes the foundation of dialogues and negotiations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. We have consistently stood for the early resumption of contacts and discussions across the Straits on the basis of the one-China principle. Contacts and dialogues can be resumed and there is no issue that cannot be discussed as long as the Taiwan authorities demonstrate their sincerity in improving cross-Straights relations, recognize the one-China principle and explicitly commit themselves to the consensus reached between mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in 1992 and expressed orally by each side that both sides of the Taiwan Straits should adhere to the one-China principle."

"Peaceful reunification and one country, two systems" represents the basic principle of the Chinese Government toward the resolution of the Taiwan question. However, we cannot renounce the use of force. This is not directed against the people of Taiwan, but the separatist attempts of the pro-independence forces and foreign forces trying to interfere in China’s reunification. The question of Taiwan must not be put off indefinitely.

The Chinese Government has a consistent and clear position on foreign countries developing relations with Taiwan. We do not object economic and cultural exchanges of an unofficial nature between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China. But, we firmly oppose these countries developing official relations or having any official exchanges or contacts with Taiwan. I am sure that as a longtime staunch supporter of South Pacific island countries I their efforts to safeguard sovereign independence and territorial integrity, China will win support an understanding from South Pacific countries for its just position on the Taiwan question. We are appreciative and thankful that the Forum and the Forum members having diplomatic relations with China have adhered to the one-China position and hope that they will stand on high alert against the Taiwan authorities’ political attempts to advance "pragmatic diplomacy" in the South Pacific, create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" and sabotage the relations between China and the Forum, and refrain from developing any official relations with Taiwan.

2. Question of Taiwan in Relation to the Forum

In line with its consistent position, China urges the Forum to uphold the one-China principle in arranging for the Post-Forum Dialogue for this year and beyond.

A. The dialogue between Taiwan and the five island countries having the so-called "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan should not take place at the same time and venue as the Forum and Post-Forum Dialogue.

B. Participants from Taiwan should not be allowed to take part in any activities related to the Forum and the Post-Forum Dialogue.

C. Forum members having diplomatic relations with China, the PIF Secretariat and other regional organizations in the South Pacific should not participate in the dialogue with Taiwan.

D. Names such as "Taiwan/Republic of China" which are inconsistent with the one-China principle should not appear in the Forum’s documents or programs.

E. The PIF Secretariat should not hold reception or any other official activities for participants from Taiwan. We strongly demand that the Forum take seriously the above position of the Chinese side.

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