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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 25) – Saying that his country is paying great attention to Palau and its people, a visiting official from the People’s Republic of China is offering economic opportunities to Palau as he and his party met with some top government officials during a five-day visit.

In a separate statement, the Taiwan Embassy in Palau said that Palau is an independent sovereign country and that "it’s a shame that China abuses its size and power in an attempt to dominate and exploit Palau’s foreign policy and interfere with Palau’s internal affairs.

The Chinese official, Wang Yunxiang, who is the Vice President of Chinese people’s Institute of foreign Affairs, said they were here to promote mutual trust between China and Palau.

During a press conference on Tuesday at the Palasia Hotel, Wang said China is ready to establish diplomatic ties with Palau provided that it will stop first its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.

"It’s up to the government of Palau to take this opportunity," the Chinese official said.

The Taiwan Embassy said that true friendship is unconditional and that a true friend does not set preconditions before providing help.

"Communist China consistently sets preconditions before providing any cooperation. Each decision is infused with hidden political intentions. Communism can never be a true ally, and cannot be trusted," the Taiwan Embassy statement said.

It said that Palau and Taiwan have been two brother countries with a well-maintained relationship in various aspects over the years.

"It is based on our shared values of freedom, democracy and justice that we have shared a friendship we both cherish. We will continue to further strengthen our brotherhood by promoting our common interests in all fields," the statement said.

The Chinese official was accompanied by the Institute’s Deputy Secretary General Bi Gang, staff Leon Liu (Dept. of North America and Oceania) and Weijun You, counselor of the Embassy of China in the Federated States of Micronesia based in Palikir, Pohnpei.

Though the invitation of the Palau Senate, the Chinese officials said they met with Vice President Elias Camsek Chin, Senate President Surangel Whipps, Sen. Joshua Koshiba, House Speaker Antonio Bells and other officials.

"It’s a friendly visit. We are a non-government organization but closely related with the Foreign Affairs office of the Chinese Central Government," said Wang, who had been an ambassador in three African countries and three European countries.

Wang stressed that that even though there is no diplomatic relationship between China and Palau, his country will continue to establish communication lines between the two nations.

"We share a lot of common interests and that the people should understand that China’s economy is going very fast. Almost any country now in the world is taking the opportunity for trade and investment with China. Palau should start thinking about this," Wang said during a press conference at the Palasia Hotel on Tuesday June 19 afternoon.

Wang mentioned about the well-develop tourism industry in Palau as well as its vast fishery resources and a potential area for Chinese to do business.

"But our priority is to establish contact with the Palauan people, society and education. We are in the same region. If Palau is in trouble, we also worry," Wang said.

Wang said that even Taiwan has multi-million trade and investment in China.

"Why not Palau?" he asked

He said that the government of Palau gave them a warm welcome and said that their trip here was very successful and they were very satisfied.

Wang said that one of China’s principles of its foreign policy is to pay great attention to its neighboring countries like Palau.

There are some 160 countries that recognize mainland China, which Wang said is working very hard on the process of its unification efforts with Taiwan.

"Soon China and Taiwan will reunite. We are making some progress. The two economies are mixed and rely to each other," Wang said.

He said that there are three million Taiwanese tourists who travel to China every year and one million Taiwanese are working in China at present.

He said that through peaceful means and diplomatic talks, the reunification effort is gradually progressing.

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