PRIME MINISTER QARASE LEADS FIJI DELEGATION TO CHINA

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 22, 2002 - Daily Post/PINA Nius Online)---Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase will head a 20-member government delegation to the People’s Republic of China this weekend.

Included in the delegation are Minister for Works Savenaca Draunidalo and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kaliopate Tavola.

Business people, who will be using the trip as an opportunity to strengthen trade relations with China, will accompany the official delegation.

Speaking on the Fijian radio program Voqa ni Davu yesterday, Mr. Qarase said the visit is to strengthen diplomatic and trade ties between the two nations.

These ties were enhanced with the opening of Fiji’s embassy in China last year, and with Fiji’s continued recognition of the "One-China Policy."

Mr. Qarase reiterated Fiji’s commitment to this policy, saying, "Fiji recognizes that Taiwan comes under the Chinese government."

The visit will serve as an opportunity for the Chinese and Fiji governments to sign essential Memorandums of Understanding for fisheries, health and education.

The fisheries memorandum is expected to deal with Chinese technical aid for fresh water fishing development.

The health agreement is expected to deal with aid for upgrading facilities in all hospitals and health centers.

The education memorandum will deal with student cultural exchange programs.

Regarding trade, Mr. Qarase said there is a possibility that Fiji mahogany could be exported to China, as well as seafood.

Also on the agenda are plans to inaugurate direct passenger flights between Fiji and China.

The delegation will return to Fiji on June 2.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/FijiLive.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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