Vanuatu Opens New Consulate Office In Hong Kong

Prime Minister's presence at opening shows importance of diplomatic relations with China

By Jane Joshua

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, March 1, 2017) – Vanuatu officially opened its Consulate Office in Hong Kong on Monday February 27, 2017.

The significance of the operations of this office was accentuated by the presence of the Head of the Vanuatu Government, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai who attended the occasion, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Bruno Leingkon and a delegation which includes Attorney General Kiel Loughman, the Director General in the Prime Minister’s Office, senior government officials and political advisors.

“The opening of the Vanuatu Consulate General Office marks another milestone in the development and strengthening of Vanuatu’s diplomatic relations with China and its Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong,” Minister Leingkon conveyed in his address to PM Salwai, Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Dennis Nai, Ambassador of the Federated States of Micronesia in China Carlson D. Apis, Ambassador of Samoa in China Terry Toomata, Chairman of Hainan Airlines, Board Members of the Pacific Resource Group (PRG).

“Hong Kong has established itself as Asia’s business hub with a well-established financial market, along with a capital market in Asia, making it the world’s largest financial centre.”

Vanuatu’s Consul General (CG) to Hong Kong, Mr. Andrew Leong, joined PM Salwai and Minister Leingkon in cutting the red ribbon to open the Office.

In 2011, when the Vanuatu Permanent Residence Program was launched in Hong Kong, Vanuatu only had a Trade Commission office that was set up to promote Tourism, Trade, Investment and create opportunities for the country.

Minister Leingkon said the success of the program is reflected in the increased number of people who have applied and obtained the Permanent Residence status and the economic returns it has brought to the country.

“Many have obtained the citizenship through the Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program (VERP) that was initiated by the PRG to support the government, in its cyclone Pam recovery program,” he said.

“With the success of the program and the opportunity for greater cooperation with the Chinese government and the authorities in Hong Kong, the need for a government presence in Hong Kong has become evident.

“The opening of the Consulate office shows us how valuable it is to have a presence here (Hong Kong) as it will provide direct support to Vanuatu business.

“In accessing commercial opportunities in Hong Kong whilst also enabling us to build stronger political links with the local government.

“The rising economic and global importance of Asia is clear; our overseas network in the region plays an important role in strengthening our political, economic and commercial ties.”

Prime minister Salwai noted that with the recent happenings in Brexit and also with the election of the new President of the United States, it is important for Pacific Island countries to strengthen their ties, in the case of Asia as it is more closer.

“I also thank the Board members of the PRG for housing our Consulate on their premises,” he said.

“This is a sign of the good relationship the government has with the PRG and I look to seeing this cooperation continue.

“Congratulation Consul General Leong, on your capability to run this office in the best interest of the good relation of the PRG and Vanuatu Government and also China and Vanuatu, all the best to you.”

CG Leong was appointed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on June 8, 2016. The position is self-funded and is effective for a 3-year term.

Minister Leingkon similarly thanked CG Leong for his commitment and determination to serve the government and people of Vanuatu.

The minister is confident the CG Leong’s wealth of knowledge and extensive background in business will equip him to perform well in his new role, for the benefit of the country and the strengthening of the existing ties between Hong Kong and Vanuatu.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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