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Sharing My Experience and Thoughts with Fiji Friends
Dr. HAN Zhiqiang

Bula Friends,

I came back to Fiji a week ago after my annual leave. In China, I toured several provinces and municipalities,met with friends and heard about and saw in person changes taking place. I also joined Prime Minister Voreqe Banimarama at the celebration of the Fiji National Day at Shanghai World Expo. As Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, I feel it obligatory and a pleasure to share my experience and thoughts with friends in Fiji.

My first impression is that China has claimed initial success in fighting against the international financial crisis. Its economic fundamentals remain strong and domestic demand is on increase. As a matter of fact, China has achieved amazing economic development and social progress during its three-decade reform and opening up. The 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 Shanghai World Expo are two splendid demonstrations of China's achievements.

The Chinese people are confident of China's future. At the same time, we are aware that China is by all means a developing country. When I traveled in my motherland, I saw people in many places are still struggling to conquer poverty. Many people in the world are very enthusiastic about the story that China will become the second largest economy globally. The fact that China's per capita GDP ranks 105th in the world is intentionally or unintentionally neglected.

China's economy has registered fast growth for years, but its development is very imbalanced. While express trains cruising in the eastern and coastal regions at 300 kilometers per hour, hundreds of thousands families in the remote inland areas are having difficulty in finding decent jobs and feeding themselves. We have helped hundreds of millions out of poverty during recent decades, but 11% of the 1.3 billion Chinese (150 million people) are still living under the United Nations poverty line. The above facts reflect the true image of today's China--a country facing long way to go before achieving comprehensive prosperity, while having great potential and space for further leap-forward.

China and Fiji enjoy long-standing cooperative relations. Being both developing countries, we share same desire of economic prosperity and social stability. Since our two countries established diplomatic ties in 1975, we respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity; support each other's effort in economic development and social progress. Our exchange and cooperation in trade, investment, education, culture and many other areas have been fruitful.

China has provided assistance within its capability to enhance Fiji people's livelihood, welfare and capacity-building. The Multi-purpose sports facilities, Navuso Bridge and the on-going Navuva Hospital are all typical examples. We also donated cash, fertilizer and equipments to Fiji when floods and cyclones hit Cikobia Island, Ba province, Nadi Town and many other areas.

We are also very grateful to Fiji Government and people for their condolence and donation to China and Chinese people after Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008 and floods and draught disaster in China in 2010. This again illustrates that the peoples of China and Fiji are true friends in need. 

Fiji is a country of hope and charm. When I toured Shanghai World Expo and visited Pacific Pavilion where Fiji pod is located, I was very much impressed by Fiji's participation at the Expo which brings our two countries and peoples closer. Fiji's devoted team at the Expo showcases Fiji's unique culture, products and opportunities for investment. Their dazzling i-Taukei singing and dancing, kava ceremony as well as the friendliest smiles have attracted the attention and interests of many potential tourists and investors from China and the rest of the world. And I'm very happy to learn some groups of tourist and business people who toured the Pavilion had already visited Fiji. I believe there will be many more to come.

No seeds can bear fruits overnight without diligent cultivation and full time gardening. It will be essential for our tourist agencies and entrepreneurs of both countries to work hard to turn the good momentum into reality. As Chinese Ambassador to Fiji, I warmly congratulate the recent progress of China-Fiji cooperation and I am determined to make joint efforts with Fiji Government and friends to materialize greater outcomes in the future. 

The year 2010 marks the 35 anniversary of the establishment of China-Fiji diplomatic relations. I am confident that our bilateral relations are at the threshold of a new high, and therefore looking forward to an all-round and solid China-Fiji relationship which is to contribute more to the wellbeing of our two peoples.  

Wishing you all a nice weekend. Vinaka.


[H.E.Dr. HAN Zhiqiang is the current Chinese Ambassador to Fiji. He presented his Letter of Credentials to H. E. the President of Fiji in November 2008. ]

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