CHINESE CONTRIBUTION TO DEVELOPMENT IN PNG

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By Richard Sikani, CIS Commissioner

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (May 16, 2002 – Post-Courier)---Politics should not take precedence over the cordial relations that the People’s Republic of China and Papua New Guinea have enjoyed since Independence.

Diplomatically, Papua New Guinea continues to recognize Taiwan as an integral province of China, under the "One China" policy.

The overwhelming majority of Papua New Guineans, as well as the various national governments that have held power since independence, have diplomatically regarded Taiwan as an integral part of the People’s Republic of China.

With respect to all our friends, many foreign nations have shared in our developments and hardships. The people of China and the Chinese government have stood by Papua New Guinea during our trouble times.

Once again our sincere thanks must go to the Chinese government for agreeing to send Chinese doctors to work at the Port Moresby General Hospital, while some of our trained doctors are vying for seats in the Haus Tambaran, (National Parliament). The team of doctors will be employed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, which will be paying the doctors’ salaries and their travel expenses and also providing annually US$ 40,000 worth of medical equipment and drugs to treat the people of PNG.

An understanding has been reached with the Chinese drug manufacturing company, North China Pharmaceutical Corporation (NCPC), under which the PNG Department of Health will procure medical drugs for the public hospitals in Papua New Guinea.

The Department of Health will purchase directly from NCPC, which is an economical deal for the PNG Government.

The PNG Government will save some 40 percent by purchasing the equipment and drugs directly from the manufacturer. The NCPC manufactures antibiotics, and has the capacity to produce 300 varieties of pharmaceuticals, raw materials, and preparations. The main drugs to be purchased from the NCPC will be to treat malaria, and tuberculosis. These antibiotics and vaccines will be made available to all of our public hospitals.

One China Policy

On October 1, 1949, the Chinese people won the victory in their new democratic revolution and founded the People’s Republic of China. China’s Kuomintang ruling clique retreated from the mainland to entrench in the Taiwan province in confrontation with the central government with the support of foreign forces. So, it gave rise to the Taiwan issue.

The People’s Republic of China firmly believes that the Taiwan issue will be solved on the basis of the "One China" policy. The key points of this policy are:

* THERE is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity tolerate no division;

* THE Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China. The reason that Taiwan issue has not been settled for such a long period of time is mainly due to the intervention of foreign forces and the obstruction of the separatist forces in Taiwan. Therefore, the Taiwan issue allows no foreign intervention, and the Chinese government resolutely opposes the Taiwan authorities’ separatist acts.

* WITH joint efforts of all Chinese people, including those in Taiwan, China’s complete reunification will be definitely realized. The Chinese government is actively and sincerely striving for peaceful reunification, but at the same time it states that the Taiwan issue cannot be delayed indefinitely.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China appreciates the overwhelming majority of foreign governments’ continuous support of the One China policy, just as the PNG Government appreciates the international support of its position on the Bougainville issue.

PNG and China Relations

Although differences exist between China and PNG, both nations can sustain a sound and steady partnership, as long as our two countries handle our relations in light of norms governing international relations and principles enshrined in the Joint Communiqué to establish diplomatic relations.

Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta stated that the key to the success of a good relationship with the People’s Republic of China lies in PNG’s respect for the "One China" policy, in its dealings.

The Chinese government has no objections to non-governmental economical and cultural exchange between PNG and Taiwan. However, it firmly opposes establishment of official relations or any official exchanges between the two sides.

During Prime Minister Sir Mekere’s visit to China last year, China’s Premier Zhu Rongji stated the Chinese government’s position on the Taiwan issue, and hoped that the PNG Government would maintain and heighten its vigilance against the political plot of the Taiwan authorities to split the country.

The new PNG Government, which will come into office after the 2002 national general elections should consider the efforts made by the present PNG Government and continue the existing cordial relations with the people and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

In order to guarantee the smooth development of the relations between China and those countries having diplomatic relations with it, based on the "One China" policy, Premier Zhu urged PNG Government not to:

* SEND any official to visit Taiwan in whatever capacity;

* ALLOW any official from Taiwan to visit PNG;

* SIGN any official document with Taiwan;

* SET up any official missions between PNG and Taiwan; and

* SUPPORT Taiwan in its attempts to participate in any international or regional organizations whose membership is confined to sovereign states.

Premier Zhu’s remarks, known as the "five nots," received Sir Mekere Morauta’s positive response.

Taiwan Authorities’ Attempts

Over the years, the Taiwan authorities have constantly attempted to establish diplomatic relations by means of "pragmatic diplomacy" or "dollar diplomacy" with countries having diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.

They have this in the guise of developing economic cooperation, which is ultimately aiming at creating "two Chinas" or "One China, one Taiwan." Its ulterior motive is to create conditions which will bring "Taiwan’s Independence" into reality, a move which is opposed by China and more than 160 countries in the world, including PNG.

The Taiwan authorities have recently stepped up efforts to squeeze into international organisations under the UN with the same political motive. Every year the Taiwan authorities buy over a very small number of countries to speak for them in the international arena. Even in PNG, a political party has, of late, publicly supported Taiwan’s move to enter into the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO is an organization under the UN. One of the principles of the UN is to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states.

The 26th Session of the UN General Assembly has already settled the issue of China’s representation at the UN and its specialized agencies. Taiwan is not a sovereign state. Therefore it is ineligible for membership of the UN and other international organizations whose membership is confined to sovereign states.

China-PNG Trade Relations

PNG is China’s biggest and most important trading partner among the South Pacific Island nations. In recent years, trade between China and PNG accounts for two-thirds of China’s trade with the South Pacific island nations. The Trade volume between China and PNG registered some US$ 225 million in 2000, while that of PNG and Taiwan was about US$ 20 million. China has had a big trade deficit with large trade surplus with PNG. It is anticipated that PNG’s export to China will continue to grow because of the sustained economic development in China, which has maintained 7-10% of annual GDP growth over the past 23 years, and also because of China’s recent accession to the World Trade Organization.

Papua New Guinea is the largest recipient of Chinese aid among the South Pacific island nations. In July 1999, when the PNG Government turned to friends for financial assistance, China was the first to give a grant of US$ 10 million, of which US$ 5 million was in cash to PNG Government as budgetary support to help us overcome our financial difficulties.

More recently, during Prime Minister Mekere’s visit to China in May 2001, the Chinese government provided PNG with a cash grant of US$ 800,000 and materials worth US$ 25 million.

Some of the latest economic and technical cooperation projects, which have been funded by China, are:

* MARKHAM National High School was completed by the Chinese government and handed over in May 2001. The total value of this project was US$8.3 million.

* THE cost of construction of Sir John Guise Sports Complex in 1991 was some US$ 10 million. In early April 2002, the Chinese government signed the implementation contract with the PNG Government to renovate the Stadium at the cost of US$ 1 million.

* IN April 2001, the Chinese government handed over medical equipment and building materials for assembly houses, worth US$ 600,000, to the PNG Defense Force, to help upgrade the Taurama military hospital.

* IN September 2001, the Chinese government donated 50 sets of wind and solar-powered generators, valued at US$ 236,000, to help the PNG Government’s rural electrification program.

* THE veneer plant project in Wewak started in July 2001, and the total value of investment reaches US$ 10 million.

* THE Kandep Agricultural Research Center, which cost US$ 2.2 million, was handed over to the PNG side in July 1998. The Chinese government has decided to continue this agricultural cooperation project.

* THE Chinese government has so far completed two phrases of the Lufa mushroom project and plans to continue the funding for the third phase of the project.

* THE Papa/Lealea Salt Plant invested by China, has just been completed recently, at a cost of US$ 10 million and will go into production before the end of May 2002.

* IN April 2002, the Chinese government agreed to send a medical team of eight specialists to work at the POM General Hospital. China will also provide to the PNG with some US$ 40,000 worth of medical equipment and medicines (drugs) each year.

* THE PNG National Research Institute has received some K 20,000 (US$ 5,508) from the Chinese government to conduct research, observation, monitoring and analysis of the 2002 national elections.

* THE Chinese government has also funded the construction of classrooms in some schools in PNG. For instance, the Morobe community at the Nine-Mile Settlement outside Port Moresby has completed a pre-school classroom at the end of April 2002 at a cost of K 43,000 (US$ 11,843) funded by the Chinese government.

* THE PNG Government and the Chinese government are right now discussing new projects to be funded by the Chinese government.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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