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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (Federated States of Micronesia Information Service, April 17) – The China-Pacific Island countries’ meeting has provided the Federated States of Micronesia with over US$2.5 million in grant assistance.

President Joseph J. Urusemal returned to Pohnpei last week following the first ever China-Pacific Islands Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum on April 5-6, in Fiji.

Premier Wen Jiabao of the People’s Republic of China met with Urusemal and six other leaders from the Pacific island countries during the two-day forum and provided the participating Pacific islands countries with over US$300 million in development assistance.

Urusemal held bilateral talks with Wen during which the two witnessed the signing ceremony of two assistance grants.

The first grant of US$75,000 will be used for the dispatch of a study team from China to begin initial assessment for the construction of the Pohnpei state administration building.

The other assistance, US$2.5 million, will be used for projects to be agreed upon between the two governments.

Signing on behalf of their governments were Lorin S. Robert, Federated States of Micronesia deputy secretary of foreign affairs; and Bo Xilai, Chinese minister of commerce.

Wen also announced in the Forum the inclusion of Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia as approved destination status countries, which will greatly improve the tourism development for these countries.

In the presence of the state leaders of the Pacific island countries and China, the ministers signed the economic development and cooperation guiding framework, which provides direction and general principles of cooperation between China and Pacific islands in several areas of economic development.

Akillino Susaia, Federated States of Micronesia secretary of economic affairs, signed the framework on behalf of the federation.

Following the opening ceremonies, Pacific ministers delivered their country statements along with Australia and New Zealand.

Deputy Secretary Lorin Robert and Secretary Akillino Susaia delivered the Federated States of Micronesia statements on economic development ties with China, and Federated States of Micronesia fisheries development.

Other ministers from Pacific island countries spoke on similar economic and cooperation issues, such as tourism and transportation, trade and investment, forestry and agriculture.

During the China-Pacific islands Forum, the Federated States of Micronesia became the 11th signatory to the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement when Urusemal signed the agreement in the presence of Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Greg Urwin, other Forum staff, and the Federated States of Micronesia delegation.

During the signing ceremony, Urwin congratulated the Federated States of Micronesia, and re-assured the president for the continued support of the Forum Secretariat in the public education and ratification process of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement.

In addition to meetings with Chinese government delegation members, the Federated States of Micronesia delegation held informal and courtesy meetings with representatives of public corporations and the private sector such as the China National Fisheries Corp., the China Civil Aviation Bureau, and the Export-Import Bank. The Chinese delegations had expressed interest in exploring areas of cooperation in the Federated States of Micronesia.

While in Nadi, Fiji, Urusemal and his delegation received a group of Federated States of Micronesia students attending various schools in Suva.

They expressed appreciation for the rare opportunity to meet Urusemal and were briefed on latest developments in the Federated States of Micronesia – especially in the areas of education and scholarship.

Deputy Chief of Missions Gabriel Ayin assisted in the transport arrangement for the students from Suva to Nadi.

Accompanying Urusemal to the inaugural China-Pacific islands meeting were Secretary Akillino Susaia, Deputy Secretary Lorin Robert, Ambassador Kodaro Gallen and Deputy Assistant Secretary Perry Pedrus.

April 17, 2006

Federated States of Micronesia Public Information Office: http://www.fsmpio.fm/releases.htm

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