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The Chinese Embassy in Tonga Hosts Reception in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Tonga
2018/11/03

In the evening of November 2, 2018, with the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom of Tonga decorated with lanterns and colorful streamers, His Excellency Wang Baodong, Chinese Ambassador to Tonga hosted a reception in grand celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Kingdom of Tonga. HRH Princess Pilolevu and Lord Tuita, Hon. Akilisi Pohiva, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Lord Fakafanua, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Ministers of Agriculture, Health, Police and other ministries, Members of the Parliament as well as the members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the Chinese community and Chinese companies and the major local media outlets attended the reception.

In his speech, Ambassador Wang recalled the development history of Tonga-China diplomatic ties since establishment. He said that at the end of last century, His Late Majesty King Tupou IV put forward the diplomatic policy of “looking east” for the long-term development of Tonga and made the right decision to sever ties with the Taiwan authorities. On October 26, 1998, His Majesty King Tupou VI, who was then Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Tonga visited China, and on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, signed the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations with his counterpart in the Chinese Government. According to the Communique, the two countries mutually recognize each other and establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level from November 2, 1998. The normalization of diplomatic ties between China and Tonga is in the common interests of the two countries and two peoples, thus opening a brand new chapter in China-Tonga relations.

Ambassador Wang spoke highly of the great progress since the establishment of diplomatic ties. He said that:

—over the 20 years, the two countries have kept close contacts at different governmental levels. In particular, at the invitation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, His Majesty King Tupou VI paid a successful visit to China in March this year. The two Heads of State reached important consensus on pushing for new and greater achievements in the development of the China-Tonga Strategic Partnership of mutual respect and common development, which chartered the course for future development of bilateral relations.

—over the 20 years, the two countries have strengthened mutual political trust. China and Tonga have always understood and supported each other on matters related to each others’ core interests and serious concerns. We have been upholding the principle of non-interference in each others’ internal affairs. China firmly supports Tonga in maintaining its national independence, safeguarding national sovereignty and exploring development path that suits Tonga’s conditions. The Royal Family, consecutive governments and parliaments of Tonga have always followed the friendly policy towards China, by strictly abiding by the One China principle and avoiding any contacts with the Taiwan authorities.

—over the 20 years, the mutually beneficial cooperation have been deepening. In the area of governmental development cooperation, at the request of Tonga and according to its national development need, China has been providing development assistance to Tonga without any political conditions attached. So far, China has helped Tonga build various infrastructure facilities. In the area of commercial cooperation, the solar power project invested by a private Chinese company was connected to the grid last year and is contributing to Tonga’s clean energy strategy while other Chinese investors are engaged in sea farming. China welcomes Tonga’s active participation in the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai and taking this opportunity to export more other featured produces to China.

—over the 20 years, people-to-people exchanges have kept expanding. The agreement on mutual visa exemption for the holders of diplomatic, service and ordinary passports has greatly facilitated bilateral personnel exchanges. China has actively provided government scholarships and offered various training courses to the Tongan side. The two countries have sent cultural groups for mutual visits many times and increased understanding of each others’ unique cultures. The exchanges and cooperation at the local-level are also fruitful.

—over the 20 years, we have conducted close collaboration in the international affairs. China and Tonga both oppose hegemonism, power politics and unilateralism, both are committed to pushing for the building of a new type of international relations of win-win cooperation and a fair and equitable global governance system, and promoting regional peace and stability in the South Pacific region. China highly appreciates the Tongan Government’s supporting the concept of Building Community of Shared Future for Mankind put forward by President Xi Jinping, and sincerely welcomes Tonga’s participation in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

Ambassador Wang pointed out that after 20 years of development, China-Tonga relations are standing at a new historic starting point. Further strengthening the relations is the common wishes of our Governments and peoples. Taking the opportunity of the 20th anniversary, following the principle of mutual respect and treating each other as equals, the Chinese side looks forward to working with the Tongan side to continuously and actively implement the important consensus reached by the two Heads of State, and further enhance exchanges and cooperation in various fields. We will firmly push for the in-depth development of the China-Tonga Strategic Partnership, bring more benefits to our two peoples and jointly make greater contribution to the development and prosperity of the South Pacific region.

In his speech, Prime Minister Pohiva extended warm congratulations to the Government and people of China on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Tonga and China. He said since the diplomatic ties began in 1998, the relations have flourished and matured to the strong, cordial and enriching friendship. Tonga-China relations are always based on the strict adherence to the One-China principle and non-interference in each others’ internal affairs. These are the important tenets of our relations as they reinforce the principle of mutual respect for each others’ sovereignty.

Prime Minister Pohiva said that Tonga-China relations cover various fields of development and cooperation. After the political upheaval in 2006, China was the only country willing to provide Tonga with concessional loan on a large scale, which were crucial for Tonga’s economic recovery. Over the years, China has assisted Tonga in different forms including grants for infrastructure, roads, schools, a convention center, medical centers, government Buildings, provided technical cooperation, in-kind and cash assistance and sent medical ships to visit Tonga, which have greatly facilitated Tonga’s development in various aspects and improvement of people’s livelihood. The Tongan government and people are exceedingly grateful for that. People-to-People exchanges have flourished with frequent mutual visits from Government and Parliamentarian Delegations. The State Visit by His Majesty to China early this year, when the two countries are celebrating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties, has reinforced bilateral relations. Tonga stands ready to work with China to build a community with a shared future for mankind and a new type of international relations.

Prime Minister Pohiva said that President Xi Jinping emphasized that the people’s wish for a happy life is our mission. That is also the mission of the Government of Tonga. Tonga is grateful for China’s helping Tonga fulfill that mission over the last 20 years. Tonga embraces warmly the past twenty years of relations and looks forward to another twenty years of cooperative and productive relations. He wished well-being and prosperity of the two peoples and continued success of cooperation between the two countries.

The reception proceeded in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Members of the art group from the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga, staff of the Chinese Embassy and experts of the Chinese medical team to Tonga jointly performed Tongan dances, Shadowboxing, Chinese songs to express their happy feelings about the historic occasion. Their wonderful performances won the applause from the guests.

    

    

 

During the reception, the Embassy also held the Picture and Power-point Exhibitions with over 60 pictures demonstrating in an all round way of the exchanges and cooperation in various fields between China and Tonga during the past 20 years, which was well received and appreciated by the guests. The guests also extended their congratulations on the 20th anniversary of China-Tonga diplomatic relations and expressed their willingness to take the opportunity of the anniversary and work with the Chinese side to push for further progress in the bilateral relations.

On November 2,, the Chinese Embassy, St. George Government Building, the two sides of the main roads in Nuku’alofa and many shops hang the banners of celebrating the 20th anniversary and national flags of China and Tonga. Everywhere is filled with a festive atmosphere.

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