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NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Radio Tonga News, April 30, 2008) - Three agreements worth close to 13 million pa’anga [US$6 million] were signed between the governments of Tonga and the People’s Republic of China during His Majesty King George Tupou 5th’s recent State visit to Beijing.

It was His Majesty’s first official visit to China on the invitation of the President Hu Jintao.

King George Tupou 5th traveled to Beijing at the beginning of this month and was met with a warm reception and welcome, which included a military parade that was performed by the soldiers from the Hainan Province.

The Chinese Ambassador to Tonga His Excellency Hu Yeshun told reporters last night that the King was able to meet with President Hu Jintao and discuss a number of issues.

Yeshun said that the two Head of States’ discussions touched on politics, economic and social programs relating to both countries.

They also relayed their appreciation at the development of communication and the continuing relationship between the government of the People’s Republic of China and its people, and the government of the Kingdom of Tonga and its people.

While His Majesty was in China, He was also able to be part of the opening of the BOAO Forum of Asia where the economic development of member countries is discussed.

The meeting was deemed as a success especially between His Majesty and President Hu Jintao in their agreement that both countries will work together towards the economic development of Tonga.

As a result of this the two countries were able to come to an understanding and signed three agreements that will be of benefit to Tonga and its people.

One is an agreement worth an estimated 7.5 million pa’anga, and the second is a loan of about 5 million pa’anga. The third is the donation of motorbikes from China for the Coronation celebrations.

Ambassador Yeshun said that the meeting between the two Heads of States also reaffirmed the strengthening of ties between the two nations and the increasing development aid to Tonga in various areas especially in the trade, education, cultural and health sectors.

His Majesty King George Tupou 5th also had the opportunity to meet with the Chinese Premier on his visit, as well as with various government officials.

The King’s contingent to China was made up of Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Honorable Sonatane Tu’a Taumoepeau Tupou, Assistant Officer at His Majesty’s office, Honorable Fane Tupou Vava’u Tu’ivakano, Tonga’s Ambassador to China His Excellency ‘Emeline Tuita and other officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Diplomatic ties between Tonga and China were established in November of 1998, and Ambassador Yeshun said his government was grateful to the ongoing ties between the two countries and for Tongan unwavering support in recognizing the One-China policy.

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