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Speech at the Pre-Departure Reception for the Winners of the Chinese Government Scholarships

Honorable Penisimani Fifita, Minister of Education and Training,

Mr. Claude Tupou, CEO of the Ministry of Education and Training,

Winners of the 2018 Chinese Government Scholarships,

Dear Parents,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Malo e lei! Good evening! Welcome to the pre-departure reception tonight. First of all, I’d like to, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Tonga, extend warm congratulations to the winners of the 2018 Chinese Government Scholarships. I’d also like to express sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their long-run and strong support to the educational exchange and cooperation between China and Tonga.

Over the past 20 years since the the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Tonga, remarkable progress has been made in the bilateral relations and fruitful results achieved in educational cooperation. In the spirit of mutual respect and common development, China has been supporting Tonga in various forms, such as aid in constructing school buildings, donation of educational materials, provision of scholarships and personnel training, which has played due part in promoting the development Tonga’s educational undertaking. In last March, at the invitation of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, His Majesty King Tupou VI paid a State Visit to China. During the visit, our two countries signed 7 documents, which have laid solid foundation for mutually beneficial collaboration in education and human resources training among other areas.

In early July, Honorable Fifita and the delegation from the Ministry of Education and Training of Tonga paid a successful visit to China, and exchanged views with their Chinese counterparts on strengthening interactions and cooperation in educational field between China and Tonga, which is regarded as an important step in implementing the outcomes of His Majesty’s State Visit to China. In June this year, 2018 Seminar on Basic Education of Primary Schools of Tonga was successfully held in China, and 45 officials from the Ministry of Education and Training of Tonga participated in the training with desired results achieved.

In the recent years, the Chinese government has been providing about 20 full scholarships to the Tongan government every year and so far nearly 250 Tongan students have been awarded the scholarships to further their study in China. After graduation and return to Tonga, they work in various sectors and have become an important force for the national construction of Tonga. The Tongan students who have studied in China also established the Tonga-China Student Alumni Association, which provides a good platform for exchange of ideas among the alumni and promotion of people-to-people contacts between China and Tonga. During the visit by the Chinese Naval Hospital Ship Ark Peace to Tonga last week, a few members of the Alumni Association played their part in translation and medical services and made their contribution for the success of the visit.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As an ancient Chinese poem goes, A bosom friend afar brings a distant land near, which is the true description of the friendly relations between our two countries and two peoples. It is very meaningful for you as new scholarship students to go to study in China on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, and I believe that this experience will be happy and unforgettable memory in your life. I hope that you guys make the best use of the opportunity to study in China, work hard on the Chinese language and professional knowledge, gain in-depth understanding of the Chinese culture, and experience the historic changes taken place and historic achievements China has made over the 40 years since reform and opening up. At the same time, you guys are cultural envoys of the spirit of the Friendly Islands of Tonga. Rest assured that the Chinese people and relevant universities warmly welcome you to China for study and living, and I believe you will make due contribution to enhancing the friendship between our two peoples and promoting the development of the China-Tonga Strategic Partnership.

In conclusion, I wish all the new students a pleasant trip to China, every success in your study and an important role to play in the national development of Tonga in the future.

Malo aupito! Thank you.

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