PRESIDENCY OF FRENCH POLYNESIA Communication Department Pape‘ete, French Polynesia

NEWS RELEASE April 4, 2001


Shortly after twelve noon, the President of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese delegation were greeted at President Gaston Flosse’s private residence.

Gaston Flosse wreathed his guest with a lace of Tiare flowers, before taking him to the formal lounge, where he gave him several gifts, as a token of their friendship (for his wife, a brooch in the shape of a star, topped with a black pearl; for President Zemin, a pair of cufflinks made with Tahitian pearls).

Then, the President of the government of French Polynesia, Gaston Flosse, made Jiang Zemin a member of the Grand Cross of the Order of Tahiti Nui. This moment was exceptional as, in general, the President of the People’s Republic of China never accepts any title.

Polynesian Culture and economic partnership

Enchanting dances performed by "The Grands Ballets" followed by traditional songs carried out by "Tamarii Papara" welcomed President Jiang Zemin and his delegation at the luncheon. Both Excellencies had a taste of the delicacies of traditional Polynesian cuisine. The economic situation and the tourism industry in French Polynesia were extensively discussed.

Gaston Flosse: "We haven’t talked only about dances and songs…"

"It was indeed very important for our small territory to welcome one of the most powerful Head of State, who leads a country which holds the biggest population. Besides, the People’s Republic of China is part of the leading countries in the world. I speak on behalf of the people of French Polynesia: We all welcome President Zemin in our country!" said President Flosse. "We have also talked about several opportunities, particularly with regard to the order of a hundred tuna boats. Our Government will concentrate on the deep sea fishing industry for the next five years."

The development of the tourism industry as well as the pearl industry were extensively discussed. Chinese customers could indeed be a potentially strong market in both sectors. President Zemin confirmed the growing interest for the Chinese people to travel overseas. "The pearl industry could be a very successful industry in China." Robert Wan, also called the "Pearl Emperor" was among the guests, invited at President Flosse’s residence.

A common friendship with Jacques Chirac

President Zemin and President Flosse share a common friendship with the French President, Jacques Chirac. President Zemin took that opportunity to officially invite President Flosse in the People’s Republic of China in mid-September. "It is a pity that President Zemin doesn’t stay longer. He is a good and sympathetic man," concluded President Flosse.

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